Approximately 70% of young adult readers are over the age of 18. For many of us, our love for the genre all began with a wizard named Harry and his magical friends Ron and Hermoine. But WHY are we still reading these books as adults?
Rediscovering the “First Time”
Remember how it felt to share your first kiss? The first time you crushed on someone or held hands or felt unimaginable heartache? These "firsts" are something we all relate to and might even find enjoyment in reliving (well, maybe not the heartache). YA literature reveals an abundance of “firsts” that we can experience over and over again through different characters and stories. The first time will always be more powerful and intense than the second time around. Why not feel that again?
Defining an “Adult”
I believe that at some level we don’t view ourselves as growing up, and many times we don’t consider ourselves to be full-blown adults. We read about teenagers on their journey to self-discovery because we continue to relate to that. Jennifer Loja, president of Penguin Young Readers says, “What all these YA novels share is a universal coming of age experience.” Just because someone is in their 20s does not mean they have their life figured out. They are still changing and “coming of age.” They continue to grow and learn and determine who they are or who they want to be, which can make YA literature so appealing.
As previously mentioned, teen fiction can be highly relatable among adults who are still “coming of age” or growing up. Some of the most successful teen stories implant dark, serious, and emotional undertones that heavily relate to older readers. There is a huge assumption that reading YA literature is some kind of escape or a way to reminisce about what it was like to be young. I believe that reading at any level can be an escape from reality, but stories that focus on tough situations and hardships can be comparable to everyday lives. Characters, feelings, and challenges may relate to what a reader is currently going through, which further embeds themselves in their own realities so they can discover new ways to deal with them.
You don’t have to be a teenager to relate to a YA novel because we all share different timelines for growth and change. Continuing to read teen fiction as an adult is an enjoyable past time that can be relatable more so than other genres, depending on your situation.
Do you read teen fiction?