Here's a sneak peak at an essay that comes out in Sunday's NYT: The Kids’ Books Are All Right by Pamela Paul. I think anyone, YA lover or not, will appreciate this short essay.
I couldn't agree more on why Young Adult Literature is such a great genre and why it's worthwhile for adults to read as well. If you're not into YA I challenge you to read this essay and see if it doesn't change your mind. Here are a couple quotes I liked:
“I think young adult fiction is one of the few areas of literature right now where storytelling really thrives.” Yes! It seems like so much of contemporary adult fiction has forsaken plot. Readers like it when something actually happens! The way a story unfolds and the way it is told are just as interesting as character development, language and issues explored.
Y.A. may also pierce the jadedness and cynicism of our adult selves. A clean and unfiltered perspective can do wonders for one's attitude and view of life's circumstances. Perhaps this is why children seem so hopeful?
In my opinion, childhood is not a phase of life to be forgotten. "I grew up" does not have to mean I must abandon the aspects of childhood, like innocence and curiosity, that made it such a special time of life. "Childish" characteristics can be honed and used in our adult life.
There are times in YA lit when a character freaks out about something, that he thinks is life-shattering (like who sits next to who at lunch), which is actually silly to an adult. But these situations give me perspective on things I think are a big deal. How big a deal is it if I forgot my coupons on double coupon day? How big a deal is it if the vending machine stole my change? How big a deal is it if my husband forgets to pick me up from work? Or if someone cuts me off at an intersection when I have the right of way? Adults blow things out of proportion all the time. We're not that different from teenagers and their little dramas.
So, I think there are plenty of lessons for adults to learn from children's and young adult literature. If nothing else, you'll be in for a good story!