Featured Article: Adults Read YA Too
In Crossover Readers’ Advisory: Maximize Your Collection to Meet Reader Satisfaction, edited by Jessica E. Moyer, she and various librarians present a collection of adult books that teens may like and a collection of young adult books that adults may like. Moyer and the other contributors have done a wonderful job of filling a void in Reader’s Advisory. With the popularity of books like The Hunger Games and Pretty Little Liars in the adult audience, it is important for librarians to be able to steer patrons of both the adult and teen population to these books that cross collections.
Why such an overlap? Any study of the young adult genre will show that most of the main characters are dealing with some sort of life-crisis, whether it be mortality, fitting in, or trying to survive daily struggles that are universal to us all. In Booklist’s June 2017 edition (Vol. 113, No. 19/20), staff and contributors selected their “50 Best YA Books of All Time.” The list starts with the 1960s ultimate YA classic, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, and each selection, regardless of decade, is filled with character-driven novels. Each decade presents characters who are dealing with parental situations, struggling to be accepted just as they are, and trying to understand the written and unwritten rules of society. Isn’t that what many of us adults are still trying to do?
The last five years of YA publishing has provided even more teen/adult crossover appeal and tackling even more timely issues that both age groups share. Take a look at David Lubar’s YA book Character, Driven . His main character, Cliff, is dealing with rejections by the opposite sex, bullies, the art of juggling life’s responsibilities, and errors in judgment. What adult can’t say many or all of those are not a part of adulthood? I think our current young adult publications aren’t trying to push the envelope to be more ‘adult readable,’ but are instead doing what they have always intended to do and what they have always done- meet the reader where he/she is. This may be the true secret of its appeal to adults- authenticity.