According to the Philadelphia Inquirer: Teen books can be great reading for adults, too. [via The Journal of a Writer]

Quoth the article:

“Young adult” is the name of the relatively young and fast-growing genre of books that are geared to readers ages 12-18 or 14-18. But the readership of YA may have less to do with age than the name suggests.

“I personally think there’s a fine line between YA and adult fiction,” said Cindy Egan, an editorial director at Little, Brown. “I’m 37, and all my friends read YA books.”

As I’ve previously noted, especially when reading David Gerrold excellent Dingillian Family series, the young adult fiction of today contains many more mature themes than the YA fiction of yesteryear. This is also mentioned in the Inquirer piece:

[Bookstore owner Jan] Orts said the discussion about what makes a book YA is always controversial for booksellers. “It used to be content. Sex, incest, drugs, abuse, all used to be adult themes only – but that’s no longer true.”

Yep, I think young adult is something more of a marketing term these days than an accurate reflection of content. From that perspective, buyer beware.

But I also think this raises the age-old issue of “Art vs. Entertainment”. Some people dismiss YA fiction as not worth their time. Perhaps they think it’s not “literary” enough. Perhaps it’s not “challenging”. (See our discussion on literary snobs.) I say “Bah!” Dismissing books as drivel is different than choosing not to read something not suited to your tastes. Personally, I enjoy reading the occasional young adult novel. (I am currently reading Scott Westerfeld’s Midnighters #1: The Secret Hour and liking it.) The “YA” label may not guarantee literary and challenging – although that’s becoming less the case these days and, the flip side, who says all non-YA fiction is always challenging? – but it still fun. Remember that, folks? When reading used to be fun?

How ’bout you? Do you read young adult fiction or avoid it like the plague?

Filed under: Books

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