**This article was originally published in TheLoopNY. See it here.**
What do superheroes, a school for especially gifted students, vampires, witches, trafficked teenagers, gargoyles, and nineteenth century Paris have in common? If you’re stumped, don’t be too hard on yourself—it’s quite an eclectic range. But if you just screamed YOUNG ADULT FICTION out loud, then you’ve got your finger on the pulse. With series like Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games leading the charge, it’s no wonder that this is still one of the fastest growing and flourishing areas in publishing.
From dystopian to contemporary, from women’s issues to coming of age, from fantasy to science fiction, Young Adult Fiction (YA) has it all. It spans the gambit with action, romance, tears, thrills and more, but the greatest thing about YA is that it’s not just for young readers. With so much to choose from and such diversity, YA fiction appeals to all ages. In a recent study from Bowker Market Research, 55% of YA book buyers were over 18 and 28% were over 30!
So what’s the lure? What’s so compelling?
Apart from its strong voice, descriptive style, multi-layered plots, fast pacing, and intensely relatable characters, most YA fiction simply serves up a great read with the emphasis on storytelling. In addition, the subtle complexities as well as the messages in YA books can be just as powerful or more so than those in a book deemed “literary fiction.” Regardless of whether you’re a teen or an adult, at the end of the day, a good book is a good book.
As a writer, reader and a mother, I’ve also found that YA and middle-grade books are terrific bridges for parents to read with their kids. There’s nothing better than open dialogue and spirited discussion. I’ve had the most poignant discussions with my 8 year old over Wonder by R.J. Palacio, thought-provoking debates about good and evil in Harry Potter, and crazy-mad giggles over the stinky cheese in Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
The thing is regardless of whether it’s YA or adult, if you feel differently after reading a book, then that book has achieved its purpose—you have changed. It has changed you—it has affected the way you think, the way you feel, and the way you see the world at that moment. Even if it made you happy or sad or frustrated, the point is you felt something. And that is worth something. Dip your toes into the wonderful realm of Young Adult Fiction—you won’t remain unchanged, I promise you.
Support YA authors. Support YA books. Support your local bookstore. Support reading.