Essay: The Kids’ Books are Alright

I came across this NYT essay from my publisher, who recently shared it on facebook. With Mockingjay out in a few weeks, I think we’ll be seeing a lot of essays/articles like this. In fact, this one starts out mentioning that very book.

Y.A. lit (both spec. fic and not) is being read more and more widely by adults. We all know this, and I am certainly one of those adults (in fact, I read Y.A. almost exclusively). What interested me most about this essay were some of the reasons given for the genre’s success. I found myself agreeing wholeheartedly. Here are a few examples quoted, though the entire thing‘s worth a read:

“Good Y.A. is like good television. There’s a freshness there; it’s engaging. Y.A. authors aren’t writing about middle-aged anomie or ­disappointed people.”

“A lot of contemporary adult literature is characterized by a real distrust of plot. I think young adult fiction is one of the few areas of literature right now where storytelling really thrives.”

“There’s a timelessness to the period. These books are far from you, yet are also the same as you.”

And here are some pretty staggering statistics:

“47 percent of 18- to 24-year-old women and 24 percent of same-aged men say most of the books they buy are classified as young adult.”
“Today, nearly one in five 35- to 44-year-olds say they most frequently buy Y.A. books. For themselves.”

What do you guys think? What percentage of your reading falls into the Y.A. category?

Source: New York Times – (essay by Pamela Paul)

Nick James looks forward to the day when adults stop flashing him weird looks when he professes to reading “kid books.”

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1 Comment

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One response to “Essay: The Kids’ Books are Alright

  1. My daughter was glad when she was old enough to pass for a mom when entering the kids section of the library. Adult literature is also characterized by depression (or else mindless sex). YA is at least looking for hope.

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