A new study has reported that 55% of Young Adult books are bought by adults. Of these, 78% are buying them for themselves. I’m happy to consider myself one of the 78%. I love Young Adult novels. In fact, if you look at my ‘book shelf’ page, a shocking amount of the books I’ve read this year have been YA. [Some of this has to do with the fact that I interned for OUP Children’s Books and so have read quite a few books off of their front list. (I may be biased, but they’ve got a really great range of fiction!)]
I’m always being recommended ‘adult’ books or giant literary works of art. Don’t get me wrong about adult literature, I love it. I’ve read some amazing books through the years, but something always draws me to YA books.
Here I look at why.
1. I like them because they are shorter and easier to read.
You can judge me all you want for liking short books, but the fact of the matter is, I like writing to be concise. I find myself skimming over lengthy descriptions of things (as I mentioned in my review of AS Byatt’s Ragnarok). YA books are brilliant because they get to the point. Yes, sometimes they are over simplified, but they’re often fairly fast-paced. They’re perfect for me because I feel too busy to dedicate heaps of time to read about nothing happening. I’m all for books with literary merit. Books that experiment or push boundaries. But a lot of time I just want something to escape into easily… which brings me to point number two.
2. I like them because they are escapist.
Many YA books that I’ve read have had ‘happy endings’. And you know what? I like that. I’m sorry I don’t want to become mind-numbingly depressed after a book. Right now, I want hope. I want to think that crazy things happen and then things turn out okay. I know deep down that life is not like that, but I don’t want to read about it. I want to smile. I want to feel happy while I read. Yes, the real world might seem a bit duller when I’m done with a good book (I just finished Marie-Louise Jensen’s upcoming book Smuggler’s Kiss and I REALLY want to be a smuggler now… alas, I am instead going the less romantic world of publishing), but for those brief shining hours, I am happy.
3. I like them because they make me want to believe in true love.
And I’m not really sure I would otherwise.
I feel like these are the three main reasons I like reading YA novels over adult novels. There are certainly others, but mostly I like them because they are happy. They make me happy.
Do you prefer YA fiction or otherwise? I’d love to hear from you! And recommendations are always welcome.