Sunday, November 07, 2010

Young Adult Lit Comes Of Age

From the LA Times, this article: "Young Adult Lit Comes Of Age". An excerpt:

It used to be that the only adults who read young adult literature were those who had a vested interest -- teachers or librarians or parents who either needed or wanted to keep an eye on developing readers' tastes.

But increasingly, adults are reading YA books with no ulterior motives. Attracted by well-written, fast-paced and engaging stories that span the gamut of genres and subjects, such readers have mainstreamed a niche long derided as just for kids.

Thanks to huge crossover hits like Stephenie Meyer's bloodsucking "Twilight" saga, Suzanne Collins' fight-to-the-death "The Hunger Games" trilogy, Rick Riordan's "The Lightning Thief" and Markus Zusak's Nazi-era "The Book Thief," YA is one of the few bright spots in an otherwise bleak publishing market. Where adult hardcover sales were down 17.8% for the first half of 2009 versus the same period in 2008, children's/young adult hardcovers were up 30.7%.

"Even as the recession has dipped publishing in general, young adult has held strong," said David Levithan, editorial director and vice president of Scholastic, publisher of "The Hunger Games," as well as of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, the series largely credited with jump-starting this juggernaut of a trend.

"You go on the subway and see 40-year-old stockbrokers reading 'Twilight,' " said Levithan, himself a YA author. "That wouldn't have happened five years ago."

Levithan added that passing "the mother test" is an indication that a title could go wide. "If a lot of us on staff are sending a book to our mothers because it's really engaging literature, that's a good sign."

Books that have passed the Scholastic mother test? Judy Blundell's "What I Saw and How I Lied," which won a 2008 National Book Award, and the wolf love story "Shiver" by Maggie Stiefvater.

According to Kris Vreeland, children's department manager for Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, "You have a lot of different people coming to young adult in a lot of different ways."


Anonymous Richard Pulfer said...

I certainly agree. I think like comic books, this is a genre which is slowly gaining more recognition among a wider audience. Certainly movies have helped, as well as heavy-hitters like Harry Potter, but that comes with a double-edged sword. While "Twilight" certainly has its fan, it also has a lot of detractors who think they are above "that sort of thing" and I worry a little bit about a stigma developing from that sort of perception.

2:31 AM  

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