Saturday, August 7, 2010
Today, in a wonderful essay for the New York Times Book Review, Pamela Paul explores why so many books labeled "young adult" are bought and savored by those well past their teen years (while also discussing the book club phenomenon Kidlit). Among the reasons put forth:While some might claim that the wild success of the Harry Potter series has raised the stakes of--and interest in--writing for the younger reader, I'd like to suggest that something else might also be at work, something about the very hospitability of the young reader's mind. For aren't young readers typically blessed with capacious hearts and souls? Don't they tend to welcome the slightly askew into their midst? Don't they walk straight into topsy-turvy worlds, hail the wraith, admire the ghost, listen with care to the talking tree? Young readers, by and large, care more for stories than for labels. They censor less. They want the writer to get it right, or so it seems to me.
...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. (Amanda Foreman)
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. (Lev Grossman)
There's an immediacy in the prose. I like the way adolescent emotions are rawer, less canned. (Darcey Steinke)I know that many of you who read this blog read across genres and labels (and I am grateful). I wonder how you, then, might answer the question, Why are so many adults reading books that are (at the very least) marketed to teens?