So I am totally going to cheat again with this one. Another of my Thoughts on a Thursday essays (and yes I will be returning to this feature as I return to my blogging roots this summer) was about why I read YA. Here are some excerpts:
Why are so many adults reading Young Adult? There are many theories out there. Some arguing that these adults know something that most people don’t; that YA is where some of the most inventive storytelling is happening these days. That today’s young adult readers are savvy and need savvy storytelling to keep them engaged (Authors Taking Risks Isn’t Kid Stuff). There are those who make the argument that Americans are emotionally and intellectually stunted in their development and never mature past the age of 17 (Adults Reading “Young Adult” Literature — An Observation). And then there are people like Joel Stein who will try to shame you into reading adult books with the sophisticated argument that reading YA is just embarrassing.
I can’t answer the question why other people read YA, but I can answer the question why I do. It started out with a child who was a reader, a voracious, reads years ahead of her age reader. At 7 she read The Hobbit. By 8 she was out of juvenile fiction and into the YA section. At 10 I timed her and she could read about 200 pages an hour, AN HOUR! And yes, she retains it. So I needed to know what she was reading. I need to be sure that what she COULD read and what she SHOULD read coincided.
The other reason is that I love, and I mean LOVE, the fact that The Girl and I share books the way other moms and daughters might share clothes or shoes or makeup. There is nothing better than having her bounce into my room with a book and hand it to me with a smile and say “Mom, I really think you might love this one.” Or having her read over my shoulder and poke me and ask “Are you done yet? Can I read that one when you are done? Is it good? It looks good?” At an age when sometimes we scrape each other the wrong way, we have books. She values my opinion and I value hers.
YA has allowed us to talk about the fantastical. “What would you do in a zombie apocalypse?” It has allowed us to talk about the silly. “So why do to think she decided to make her vampires sparkle in the sun?” But it has also allowed me an opening into topics which are very adult. “You know that drinking and driving is dangerous?” “You know that you are loved and people will always help you and suicide should never be an option?” “You know that the choices you make now can have a lasting impact on your life?”
So yes I read YA but it has lead to some of the most adult conversations The Girl and I have had to date. So if nothing else, that is why I read Young Adult.