The young adult market these days + giveaway!
When I grew up, the raciest book I had read was, ‘The Catcher In The Rye.‘ Readers lists back then included stories like, ‘Gone With The Wind’, ‘Jane Austin,’ and, S.E.Hinton, ‘The Outsiders’.
The guys seemed to be primarily into, Star Wars & Dune series books.
Have you noticed that Young Adult reading has changed since then?
What the market offers today is different than a few years ago, in fact, taking a line from a recent PW article,‘The young adult market these days is a bit like a nephew you haven’t seen in years: transformed from a little darling into a hulking almost-grownup who is maybe, even, a little scary.’ Teen titles feature menacing creatures, forbidden romances, and apocalyptic versions of this and future Earth.
Kids today, read darker & edgier books . . .what is published in the young adult genre is very adventurous, dealing with the unknown & ‘end of the world types’ of situations — which, interestingly enough also appeals equally to the adults. . . why is that?
YA is one of the strongest categories in publishing today — partly because it attracts the adult audience as well. Harry Potter triggered the mashup between genres & then it just escalated with Stephanie Myers, Suzanne Collins & more.
It is the Decade for YA, far outpacing trends of all other genres.
Teens are spending lots of their hard-earned allowances on these books — primarily print books too, not as many purchasers of ebooks. . . . yet.
The more gender neutral, age neutral, the more the book will lend itself to cross-over appeal, interesting both the Adult & Young Adult reader.
The industry in general talks of Paranormal Fatigue in all genres, even in YA too — unless there is something really different in the story – - – where you laugh on one page & cry on the next, & the story is like nothing you’ve ever read before.
As for Dystopia? Still growing in YA – fueled by the success of Hunger Games & other me-too’s, with more releases on the way (Guardian article):
Teenagers like to read dystopian fiction because it’s exciting. It all comes down to the story. The story comes first, and the setting – extraordinary though it may be – is of secondary importance.
For the most part, dystopian fiction owes more to myth and fairytale than science fiction. These are essentially heroes’ journeys – they just happen to be set in an imagined future world. The hero, reluctant or willing, is just as likely to be female as male. Something happens – an event, or a messenger arrives bearing news – and the teenage protagonist is catapulted out of their normal existence into the unknown. They cross the threshold into a world of darkness and danger, of allies and enemies, and begin a journey towards their own destiny that will change their world. They will be tested, often to the very edge of death. The stakes are high. The adults are the oppressors. The children are the liberators. It’s heady stuff, far removed from the routine of everyday life.
The outer, global journey of the characters is matched by an inner, emotional and psychological journey. These are no cartoon superheroes. They, like their teen readers, have to deal with recognisable concerns and problems, including friendship, family, betrayal, loss, love, death and sexual awakening.
A new wave of dystopian fiction at this particular time shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. It’s the zeitgeist/spirit of the time. Adults write books for teenagers. So anxious adults – worried about the planet, the degradation of civil society and the bitter inheritance we’re leaving for the young – write dystopian books.
So, what do you think? Have young adult stories changed so much over the years or is it all relative? Just like when I was younger & my mom was twisting her hands in worry as I read The Outsider, thinking I was using the book as a juvenile delinquent training manual? Time will tell . . . .when our kids start looking at their children’s choices of reading material, coming up with the same conclusions as we do today
So, has the YA bug bitten you? What are some of the YA stories you’ve read & adored & why?
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