Friday, March 11, 2011

Young Adult Literature Comes of Age

The Book Thief

Via Los Angeles Times
It used to be that the only adults who read young adult literature were those who had a vested interest -- teachers or librarians or parents who either needed or wanted to keep an eye on developing readers' tastes.

But increasingly, adults are reading YA books with no ulterior motives. Attracted by well-written, fast-paced and engaging stories that span the gamut of genres and subjects, such readers have mainstreamed a niche long derided as just for kids.

Thanks to huge crossover hits like Stephenie Meyer's bloodsucking "Twilight" saga, Suzanne Collins' fight-to-the-death "The Hunger Games" trilogy, Rick Riordan's "The Lightning Thief" and Markus Zusak's Nazi-era "The Book Thief," YA is one of the few bright spots in an otherwise bleak publishing market. Where adult hardcover sales were down 17.8% for the first half of 2009 versus the same period in 2008, children's/young adult hardcovers were up 30.7%.

"You go on the subway and see 40-year-old stockbrokers reading 'Twilight,' " said Levithan, himself a YA author. "That wouldn't have happened five years ago."

Levithan added that passing "the mother test" is an indication that a title could go wide. "If a lot of us on staff are sending a book to our mothers because it's really engaging literature, that's a good sign."

Often, word of mouth will bring a teen title to an adult's attention, Vreeland said.

Other times, it's an award.

"One strong writer leads to exploring that area more, so you've got several now who are leading people into all kinds of directions," Vreeland noted. "You can go the whole gamut: sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, historical fiction, romance, realistic fiction, humor. There's a lot of good stuff going on."
Read the entire article here.

Image Source : Jon at NDHU

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