Sunday, September 4, 2011

Why YA over regular A?

It's no news to anyone that young adult fiction is mega-popular right now. It's not just teenagers reading YA, it's millions of adults also delving into the genre. In fact, I've encountered numerous adults who prefer YA or only exclusively read YA.

But why? Being a teenager is challenging at best and I don't think most people would choose to go back to being a teenager. So why read about it? Why choose to live vicariously through the eyes of a teen for a span of three hundred pages?

I read a lot of YA. I justify it by saying that because I'm a YA author I need to know what's out there, but that isn't 100% the truth. I don't exclusively read YA but I find myself really enjoying YA. Recently I started reading an acclaimed book for adults and I found myself not enjoying it. Not because it wasn't well written or didn't have interesting characters, but because I was intolerant of the stupidity of the characters. Don't get me wrong, I felt they were accurate portrayals of humans, I was just less patient with their foibles because of their age. Hearing a 48 year old man whine about his love life is somehow much more annoying than hearing a 16 year old kid whine about his love life. I guess there's the idea that a struggling teen will get his or her act together and go on to be a functioning adult. Transporting that kid 30 years into the future and having them still struggle gets depressing.

But let's face it. We all struggle all the time. We all want to lose weight, or find a better mate, or finally land a date with the hot guy from R&D, but I don't necessarily want to read about it.

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