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Booking Through Thursday: Age Appropriate

May 12, 2011

Today’s Booking Through Thursday asks:

Do you read books “meant” for other age groups? Adult books when you were a child; Young-Adult books now that you’re grown; Picture books just for kicks … You know … books not “meant” for you. Or do you pretty much stick to what’s written for people your age?

I read a significant amount of YA books, as well as books intended for my adult age group. I love the fact that the YA genre has exploded into a major, sometimes crossover, publishing demographic. I feel like my teenage self missed out a little, and I’m catching up on behalf of my inner 16 year old. Then again, given the punishing amount of homework I had in high school… I probably wouldn’t have had time to read any of the interesting novels appearing on the YA shelves.

Last year, I attended a panel at BEA, about the publishing industry and the economics/marketing of publishing in the YA market. I remember learning something unexpected. The YA market is so big right now, with so much crossover appeal, that publishers and agents seem to be encouraging new authors to get established in the genre. Given the appeal of series like Harry Potter and the Hunger Games, I certainly believe it.

And of course, I’m lucky. I get to review YA books, and the odd picture book. And call it work, because I can review them for the Star-Ledger!

Things I like about reading YA as a grownup:

1. It seems to be where a lot of the good fantasy authors are writing. Especially fantasy: Marissa Doyle, Erin Bow, Cassandra Clare (who I haven’t read yet!) Holly Black. I love a well-constructed magic system, folkloric elements. So I can rely on the Supernatural shelf in the Teen section of bookstores for good stuff.

2.  The characters still ring true, even to my 30something self.  As a supposed grownup, I’m still very aware that I’m dealing with the same emotional cocktail that these characters are– coming of age, figuring things out, rebellion, self-doubt, being overwhelmed, having a crush. The plus side– when I read about high school, I know that I never have to go back there! No gym class! No prom! And feeling that socially awkward usually only lasts about half an hour, instead of months!

3. I find them relaxing. The accessible language, and spirit of adventure in the fantasy-shaded novels, pelts me right along. And, the coming of age problems, or “major dramas” the characters are facing provides a welcome distraction from my own stress and uncertainty.

The book I just finished, Entwined, by Heather Dixon, was all of these things. A fantasy novel, suffused with fairy tale elements. (Specifically, the 12 Dancing Sisters.) It kept me up late, happily drawn into that world.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 12, 2011 7:51 am

    Your comments piqued my curiosity…I have stayed away from most of the YA genre, primarily because it seems to have swept in and taken the book world by storm. There’s so much buzz, and I tend to steer away from that. Maybe a part of me is afraid that I, too, will become addicted. Hmm, something to consider.

    I must admit that I have watched the occasional teen drama on ABC Family network, and it is certainly more comfortable to experience those things from a place of “not having to go back there.”

    Here’s MY BTT2 POST

    • May 12, 2011 7:53 am

      Believe me, Laurel… this time the buzz is totally worth it. Also- if you’re willing to watch TV teen dramas… you’re halfway there.
      The writing’s WAY BETTER in teen books! And fewer artificially pretty people doing pretty things.

  2. May 12, 2011 9:19 am

    I’ve read more YA literature since I started blogging than I ever did as a teen. There are some amazing authors out there and I am happy to note that not all of them write of the supernatural, vampires and werewolves. For myself, I prefer adult literature to appease my need for variance of genre and style. You may read more of my BTT answer here on My Bookshelf.


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