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The Non-traditional YA Audience

When I first started diving into online writing communities I was amazed at the number of teenagers writing YA novels. I was equally amazed at the number of adult YA readers. But really, if you take a good look around, YA is everywhere. (Yeah, I totally saw you trying to hide the cover to your copy of VAMPIRE ACADEMY at the park the other day Ms. thirty-something) And I'll admit that I'm prone to browsing from a distance at the bookstore until the aisle's clear and I can race in to grab something. But there's no need to hide. We're not alone.

While book sales for Adult hardcovers fell quite a bit over the past few years, YA book sales have made an enormous jump and a good portion of those sales are to adults. So why are so many adults enthralled with this genre? Just thinking back to those teenage years can bring on a case of cringing rivaled only by the uncomfortableness of watching poorly scripted reality tv. There was the awkwardness, self-doubt, acne, Algebra (that might just have been me, though). Most people will quickly agree it isn't a time they would want to relive. But there's an excitement in YA literature. First loves. Tough choices. Precious moments strung together that help define character. The plots are quick, but complex. The characters rich and beautifully flawed. And anyone who thinks the writing in YA isn't on par with adult literature hasn't read enough in the genre.

Growing older usually equates to more responsibility, bills, weaker vision, and stronger coffee. But it doesn't mean we don't crave writing that elicits excitement.

Check out this list of Top 10 YA Books Recommended for Adults. Any books you think should have made the list?
Amanda Hannah

Amanda grew up on a big farm in a small town with one stoplight, one school, and a handful of imaginary friends.She would’ve gone to college forever, but eight years and five majors tested her advisor’s patience. So she moved to Germany to explore creepy castles before landing in Spain where she’s perfecting her Flamenco.

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18 comments:

  1. Most of my friends (we're in our thirties) read YA. We're a big audience with buying potential, for sure!

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  2. I think the allure for adults - Looking back with a renewed understanding about things, we couldn't make head or tail out of in our teenage years. (Hugs)Indigo

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  3. I like that list! Except it should have The Hunger Games hehe.
    Randomly, my mom just gave me a copy of Catherine Called Birdy, which I'd read when I was in middle school, and it's incredibly hilarious--I'd forgotten!

    Great post :)

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  4. Oh, Kaitlin, I LOVED Catherine Called Birdy SO much. Haven't read any of Cushman's stuff since the Midwife's Apprentice. Wonder what she's up to these days . . .

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  5. I love YA lit! Not just because that's what I write either. I love alot of the fantasy in the YA genre. I haven't read adult fiction in ages. There are lots of great books in YA too.

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  6. So impossible to convince someone who doesn't want to hear it that YA can be just as well-written as any adult novel. And so frustrating, because I always feel the need to try.

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  7. I'm with you, Michelle, though I will take it a step further and say that most YA is better written than most adult fiction. :)

    The quality of craft that goes into the stories is the allure for me. There are some fantastic adult fiction titles, yes, but they're harder to find.

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  8. I would have added Speak to the list.

    sf

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  9. this is EXACTLY why my friends and i started Forever Young Adult, so we, as adult readers of YA, had a place to hang out (well, virtually) and dish about our favorite teen books.

    one of my favorite things to do is practice YAngelism, i.e. force someone to borrow "hunger games" and/or "frankie landau banks" and watch them get totally hooked on the genre!

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  10. I'm turning 30 this year and I read a whole lot of YA but I've never read any of the books on that list. Must fix soon!

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  11. Good post, Amanda. :) Personally, I'm a John Green pusher.

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  12. Gah - confession time. I am 43 and laugh that when I go into book stores I am almost always drawn tot he YA section. I am not into the romance of it - I think for me it is the excitement and adventure of these books. I mean come on - Vampires??? Hunger Games- Catching Fire fall among a couple of my favorite reads last year :)

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  13. I'm a forty-something ya mg ob reader...

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  14. It wasn't until 3 years ago I even picked up a YA book. I wrote for adults. I have to say, from that first word (It was Meg Cabot's Mediator series that hooked me like a hungry fish) Since then, I devour any and all YA I can find. I have favorite authors, favorite books, and I now write exclusively YA.

    For me, I enjoy writing about teens 100% more than writing about adults. Maybe I just have never grown up even though High School is WAY behind me.

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  15. Absolutely Hunger Games -- plus anything by M.T. Anderson, but especially the Octavian Nothing books and Feed. My brother (28) was hesitant to read YA, so I had him start off with the first Octavian book and Feed, and he loved both.

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  16. I haven't read an adult book (except for a few classics) in years. Why bother, YA is so much more compelling.

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  17. I'm 28, and all about YA. I tried reading a couple full-grown books recently, and they're all lying around half-finished. Meanwhile I'm devouring Lightning Theif and Cirque Du Freak and Th1rteen R3asons Why. I give up. I must just not be grown all the way up, but I don't mind.

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  18. At 54, I'm way over the YA age but a lot of the YA books I've read have been great. I finally figured out the draw. The biggest reason is that the author doesn't waste a lot of time building up the story (face it YAs have been raised in the era of things happening immediately). Not to say that I don't enjoy the wonderful detail that goes into a lot of the adult books, but YAs get right to the point quickly and they don't waste any pages getting the story told.
    Meliisa Marr and Michael Grants books were some of the best world building I've experienced. Where were these wonderful people when I was combing the library to find something, anything to read as a teen?

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Item Reviewed: The Non-traditional YA Audience Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Amanda Hannah