Sunday, 8 April 2012

On why YA isn't just for YA at all...

It’s been nearly a year since I started writing reviews for Midnight Reads and what a year it’s been! During that time I’ve met some amazing authors, read some breathtaking books and found myself becoming part of a community full of people who, whether you agree with their opinion or not, are passionate about what they read.

It’s a community that has grown at a tremendous rate. The UK’s Living Costs and Food survey is a study which details what the nation is buying on a regular basis, from cooked chickens to lottery tickets and everything in between. The most recent release however showed that the purchase of YA books has now crept onto the consumer’s list. YA fiction is beginning to really make its mark on society.

It’s not difficult to see why it’s happened. When I’ve attended writer’s events I’ve been amazed at how readers (young and old) enthuse about the characters and at how they’ve dissected every word and sentiment within the books they’ve read. Invariably discussing one book leads to the mention of another and another. When I went to see Cassandra Clare in London I left having met some wonderful people and with a to-read list of about a dozen series that I’d never heard of! Adaptation of books to film is another contributory factor. The release of The Hunger Games movie saw all three books fly back up the charts and when I went to see the film there were dozens of fans sitting in the queue reading as they waited to be let into the auditorium, their hair braided just like Catniss’s. One girl had gone as far as to draw on Seneca’s beard! So the market keeps expanding and more and more teens and adults are turning back to reading because of YA, indeed it was the release of Twilight that bought me back to a genre that I had loved as a teen but seemed to lose somewhere along the way...

So why is it that YA has become so popular among the adult population? I think that YA fiction not only evokes some kind of teen nostalgia in adult readers but also offers a fresh kind of hope that perhaps a lot of adult fiction doesn’t. There’s a newness and a certain naivety that doesn’t exist in books written about adult life which we as adults find appealing. Romances are fresh, new and trusting whereas in adult fiction there is often a back tale which has left the main protagonist leaving bitter, twisted and gnarled inside. The fantastical stories in YA often hark back to myths and stories that we as adults read as children ourselves and there’s nothing more comforting than being able to regress back to a more simplistic time where right and wrong were easily distinguishable and where the right choice is clear even if it’s not easy. The books we choose have the ability to re-light something in our imagination which has perhaps been snuffed by the harsh realities of adult life. It’s so much easier to contemplate and disappear into other worlds such as those created by Julie Kagawa or Veronica Roth than it is to sit down and contemplate mundane stress-inducing issues such as finances and real-life relationships (or it is for me at least!). So maybe it’s as simple as that – it’s pure escapism and what better reason do you need if you need any at all?

So there you are, the reason why I think adults are flocking to YA as much as young adults are! And hey if it gives us something to smile and swoon over even if it’s for a short time, then long may it continue!!

Happy Easter everyone!!


Stepping Out of the Page said...

Fantastic post, it's really interesting and I totally agree with you! Escapism is a wonderful thing for any age!

Happy Easter to you too! :)

Petra @ Safari Poet said...

I agree completely. Some people think it's immature of adults to read YA books, but I don't care. A good book is a good book, period. Great post!

Safari Poet

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