Guest Piece from Se7en Blog Mom

In a world where marketers are trying to separate adults, young adults, teens and tweens into different categories, and so expand their market, a glance at the young adult section in a book shop can leave you feeling a little apprehensive.  The current reads appear to be dark, dystopian, and well, depressing. And as a genre they tend to be filled with paranormal fantasy, sci-fi, mythology and people with “out-of-this world” qualities… literally. Our young adults are living between the pages of the under-world, where a resetting of the brain, not to mention higher superior or automated beings running the show are quite normal. This world is nothing like the world that they live in, and provides an escape from the reality and pressures of real life.

It is a mistake to think that young adults don’t enjoy reading, they definitely do and often the fatter the book the better. They are expecting to be entertained by their reads and they are not afraid to tackle hundreds of pages at a time. Just like young adults, young adult literature tends to get a fairly bad rap from folk who are just glancing at the shelves. Dark as these books appear to be, they are a lot of very good reads. The overall encompassing theme of these books is multi-level stories, solving contemporary social issues on a range of scales from grand global problems to private and personal problems, all in the same book. Everyone likes to solve a problem, let’s face it, the world is full of them, and this category of book is providing our young adults with a safe place to consider solutions.

As a mom with a couple of kids venturing into this “pit of despair” I decided to dive in and read what they were reading. Look again at the world our young adults are living in, they have had years of fractious media vying for their attention and between social media and online gaming, they have very short attention spans. The authors of young adult fiction know this and these books are well written in a way that grabs your attention from the start. If an author can get the reader’s attention on the first page, they have to keep that attention. I have found myself reading lots of extremely un-put-down-able books.

I noticed on a quick browse through the shelves the other day that a number of well-known adult authors are rising to the challenge and you will see a couple of series written by authors more often seen in the adult section. One place where young adult authors seem a little bit scared to go, are books about real people living their real lives. There is nothing more intriguing than real life, when it comes to real life: “You can’t make this stuff up” is not just an expression, it is a truth.

I do find myself dipping into young adult literature from time to time, my kids will say: “This is a must read…” And they are right; of course, these books tend to be fast and furious. For a quick read they are great… but as an adult dipping into this realm I am often looking for something with a little more depth and I think my kids that have grown up immersed in books, all kinds of books, they are often looking for something a little deeper too. As my kids hunker after those books on the adult section of the library – I have found that while you can’t beat a classic, the young adult section is providing them with a stepping stone between children’s and adult fiction.

―  Se7en+1 blog: The life and times of a home-schooling mom of se7en +1 blog

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