So Publisher's Weekly ran an article this week, "New Study: 55% of YA Books Bought by Adults." This new study--industry news!--has revealed that YA books are not only read by teens and preteens.
All I can say is "Duh."
I've been reading YA and in a lesser degree, MG, since the early 90's before Harry Potter took off. I was reading YA at home because adults would look at me strangely if they saw a 'teen' book in my hand and I only had toddlers with me. It wasn't cool to be an adult reading YA then.
Now it is. I guess I should thank PW.
I began my love of all things YA because it was research. I had just returned to writing and had read that a writer should read a hundred books in the genre they want to write for. Since I was aiming for the teen market, I had an entire category to choose titles from. Searching on bookstore sites, then logging into my library account, I began to research, read, and then enjoy. Book by book, my enjoyment grew from curiosity to an appreciation to a full-fledged love.
As a teen there weren't that many titles available for the voracious reader in me and I found myself grabbing or borrowing adult titles from family and friends. I may have liked them but so many were not like the stories playing out in my teen head. When I started working I would spend my paychecks on three things: music (records and/or concert tickets when tickets to shows at Madison Square Garden or other NYC venues could be purchased for $20 or less), clothing/shoes and books. I spent as much time in the aisles of Tower Records as I did in Barnes & Noble.
It's funny that as an adult and a parent, I found myself interested in reading all types of children's books. I was reading Dr. Seuss while I was still carrying my kiddies inside me. I figured if they were going to get used to my voice, they might as well hear some funny stories. When that wizard boy book first came out, I was mystified by some of the negative press I read. I wondered why people were burning a kid's book. I always loved books about witches, wizards, vampires and other supernatural creatures, so why get so upset over something fictional? I received the first Harry Potter book for free, with an online order. I didn't even realize the book was free until I opened the package. The cover was cool, the blurb intrigued me, so after I tucked my daughter into her bed, I turned the TV off and read before going to sleep. I loved it!
I had read other 'kids' books but this one was different--it was special. The story captivated me and since then I've loved reading YA and MG books. As a teen I read adult so why wouldn't I read teen as an adult?
Since the market has exploded, it continues to be an exciting time to be both a writer and reader. With the advent of ereaders and epublishing, of course there was going to be a proliferation of available titles. My family library is 75% YA and the majority are books I bring home. Some I give to my daughters, some are for me (though I always share). As for my Kindle and Nook, they are chocked full of YA and some adult books (including many titles I have for review for my other website, Reader Girls).
I chuckled when I saw the headline for the Publisher's Weekly article. Now that it's cool for adults to read YA, I find myself talking openly to other adults who share my passion for these awesome books and not feeling funny about it. All I can say is it is certainly about time.