Guest post by young adult author Maureen McGowen. Her most
recent book, Deviants, released on October 30, 2012. In a post-apocalyptic
world, where the earth is buried by asteroid dust Glory, a sixteen-year-old
orphan, must conceal the superpowers she and her younger brother possess in
order to survive.
Until three years ago, I hadn’t read a young adult (YA) novel since I was twelve. Why would I want to read books meant for kids? When I was a teen, most YA novels were decidedly juvenile, so I went straight from Nancy Drew to Sidney Sheldon. But in the intervening (cough) decades, YA fiction has changed.
And I’m happy to confess, I now love YA fiction.
It turns out that I’m not alone. A recently reported Bowker Market Research study found that 55 percent of buyers of YA fiction were adults and 78% of the time they were purchasing for their own reading—that is, they weren’t buying the books for their kids.
If you’re an adult like me, who hasn’t read a teen book in years, here are some reasons you should try:
YA fiction is fast paced. In most YA fiction these days, there’s no padding and no excessive description or narrative.
Teen novels tackle big subjects without being pedantic or preachy. Today’s YA novels don’t hit you over the head with a “message” but at the same time don’t shy away from big questions and issues.
They are penetrable. While many tackle complicated topics, you don’t need a PhD in English to interpret YA novels, and most have an uplifting ending.
There’s plenty of drama, conflict and tension. The teen years are full of heightened emotions. It’s when we experience our first loves, first heartbreaks, first huge setbacks and triumphs. And first experiences are storytelling goldmines.
YA fiction blurs genre lines.
Want a novel set during the Holocaust and narrated by Death? YA has that. Try The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak.
Want a story with horror and adventure, set in a future (that feels like the past), written in a literary style? YA has that. Try Blood Red Road by Moira Kelly.