YA Fiction: Not Just for Teens

Anyone who has children in daycare, preschool, or big-kid schools knows about Scholastic book orders. Well, the mega book publisher recently released what they see as the top 10 trends in young adult fiction. The #1 trend is adults reading YA novels. Guilty as charged and proud of it!

Way back, I read the first Harry Potter because my students were, and I thought it was a good idea to keep up with what they were reading. The truth is, however, that I finished the series because I wanted to. Ditto for The Hunger Games series, and many more. Each time I go to see a Twilight movie, my group skips the opening day madness. By the time we go, the audience is full of adult women.

The variety and quality of writing found in the YA section is amazing. This was not the case when I was a teen, and I am not ancient! So, if you can’t find something interesting in the adult section, wander over into the teen area. Don’t worry, you won’t need to pretend like you’re buying a book for your niece. You also won’t need to drag your niece to the book store as a prop. Go ahead. Just do it. Lots of adults are doing it. If you’re afraid your snooty friends will look down on you for not reading “real” literature, you can always quietly download a YA book onto your e-reader…or, you can remind them that a little book called To Kill a Mockingbird is a children’s book. Trust me, there’s real literature in the YA section. Happy reading!

Are you an adult who reads YA? If you are, leave a comment and tell me what you are reading or what you have read.

Here are Scholastic’s top 10 trends. The links will bring you to their website:

1. The expanding Young Adult (YA) audience: More and more adults are reading YA books, as the audience for these stories expands.

2. The year of dystopian fiction: With best-selling series like The Hunger Gamesand The Maze Runner, readers can’t seem to get enough of fiction that suggests the future may be worse than the present.

3. Mythology-based fantasy: Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series set the trend – and now series like The Kane Chronicles, Lost Heroes of Olympus and Goddess Girls are capitalizing.

4. Multimedia series: The 39 Clues, Skeleton Creek and The Search for WondLa are hooking readers with stories that go beyond the printed page and meet kids where they are online or via video.

5. A focus on popular characters – from all media: Kids love to read books about characters they know and recognize from books, movies and television shows. Titles centered around those popular characters (like Fancy Nancy, David Shannon’s “David,” or Toy Story characters) are top sellers.

6. The shift in picture books: Publishers are publishing about 25 to 30 percent fewer picture book titles than they used to as some parents want their kids to read more challenging books at younger ages. The new trend is leading to popular picture book characters such as Pinkalicious, Splat Cat and Brown Bear, Brown Bear showing up in Beginning Reader books.

7. The return to humor: Given the effects of the recession on families, it is nice to see a rise in the humor category, fueled by the success of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Dav Pilkey’s The Adventures of Ook & Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future, and popular media characters like Spongebob, and Phineas & Ferb.

8. The rise of the diary and journal format: The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is the most well-know example of this trend, but the success of Wimpy Kid is leading to popular titles such as Dear Dumb Diary, Dork Diaries, The Popularity Papers, and Big Nate.

9. Special-needs protagonists: There is a growing body of literary fiction with main characters who have special needs, particularly Aspergers Syndrome and Autism. Examples: My Brother Charlie, Marcelo in the Real World, Mockingbird, and Rules.

10. Paranormal romance beyond vampires: The success of titles like Shiver and Linger, Beautiful Creatures, Immortal, and Prophesy of the Sisters shows this genre is still uber-popular and continues to expand.

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