Wednesday, April 29, 2009

We love Young Adult Books

I will never apologize for my unabashed love of young adult books. As Jezebel said in reference to a Publishers Weekly article, We Are All 14-Year-Old Girls. They may have meant it tongue in cheek, but I don't care.

From the PW article:
Another book that has adults happily clutching it is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. A real page-turner of a dystopian adventure set in a future society that deals with larger themes that adults are really sinking their teeth into. This is a challenging book to book talk, as on the surface it deals with kids killing kids at the behest of the government. Adults look askance when I say that, but then I put the book in their hands and say, “Read it. It’s so much more than that.” Again, adults are proving to be less patient than kids. I had a woman who was actually whining about the release date of the sequel. “I’ve got to wait until September?!"
I promise, that wasn't me. (Though it could have been!)

Stealing from John Scalzi, I'll also note that this year's Nebula Award winner was a YA-SF book, Powers by Ursula K. Le Guin. Actually, its more than that:
Observers of the science fiction field will note the Nebula Award for Best Novel was won this year by a YA book, that the Tiptree Award is co-shared by a YA novel, and that in the Hugo Best Novel category, two and a half of the books nominated are also YA (the “half” in this case being Zoe’s Tale, written to be YA-friendly but shelved with the adult SF).
Those of us who like YA books are in good company.

On a related note, S. E. Hinton spoke at last weekend's LA Festival of Books and Jacket Copy has a good article summarizing her talk. Hinton wrote The Outsiders* and, for those of you who may not be familiar with her story, is credited with basically inventing the YA genre as it exists today. She was 16 when The Outsiders was published. (This fact makes me feel bad about myself. At 16, I was a miserable human being, not publishing groundbreaking fiction.) Its an interesting article because it raises a question, however briefly: can adults write genuine books for young adults? I think so, but it's worth thinking about.

*The book, not the movie, despite the fact that I used a movie poster to illustrate this post. But how could I resist? Matt Dillon was dreeeaaaamyyy. Unless you were a Ralph Macchio kind of girl.


  1. You were not a miserable human being at age 16, even if you didn't publish a genre-establishing first novel.

  2. YA books are great!

    Also, have you heard of the Alex Awards?

    "The Alex Awards are given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18. The winning titles are selected from the previous year's publishing. The Alex Awards were first given annually beginning in 1998 and became an official ALA award in 2002. Link to this page using its short URL,"

    Which gives one (me, that is) a big clue about adult books I will probably like.

  3. I was at the SE Hinton panel and I have to admit it was a bit of a thrill...and so awesome to see how powerful the Outsiders still is for so many people.


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