Why YA Books Appeal to an Adult Audience, by Stacey O’Neale

This year, I had an opportunity to attend a book signing with NYT bestselling young adult fantasy authors, Cassandra Clare and Holly Black. As I scanned the audience, I realized that there were as many adults with books to sign as teenagers. That raised an interesting question: Why do young adult books appeal to an adult audience?

As an adult fan of YA and the owner of the  YA Fantasy Guide, I feel I am equipped to answer that question.

In my experience, many adults prefer YA books because of their general readability. The vocabulary tends to be simple without being dumbed-down. And with an acceptable word count as low as fifty-five thousand, you could potentially read a book a day!

Let’s also not forget that adults can relate to these stories. They’re geared around the teenage experience and we’ve already been there. Who doesn’t remember their first crush or the first time they thought they were in love? It’s an escape from the daily grind remembering what life was like before careers and family took center stage.

Or perhaps you like novels that aren’t sexually explicit. YA isn’t absent of those stories, but unlike most adult, you can find books that relish the simple touches and kisses. Many YA novels also shy away from graphic and gruesome violence. Not to say that it doesn’t exist in YA, but the details you might see in an adult series tend to be grazed over.

As a parent, reading an young adult novel can be especially helpful. It’s a fun way to connect with your teenagers. Books can be a great conversation starter at the dinner table which could lead to an afternoon together at the local bookstore. Maybe your child would want to start a book club? The options are endless.

So next time you’re in the bookstore, you may want to consider checking out the young adult section. You might be surprised with what you find.

Stacey O’Neale is a full-time writer and publicity intern with Entangled Publishing. In addition to her website, the  YA Fantasy Guide, she also has a blog, Queen of Teen. If you enjoy chatting about books, then you can follow her on Twitter.


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1 Reply on Why YA Books Appeal to an Adult Audience, by Stacey O’Neale

  • I can relate to this! I also enjoy reading YA novels from time to time – it’s refreshing not to have the lovemaking depicted in gynaecological detail, or the hero littering his language is a bunch of four-letter words in an attempt to show that it’s ‘real’!

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