Friday, January 13, 2012
Why Are So Many People Reading Young Adult Novels?
Oh, I had been critiqued and beta readers had told me how much they enjoyed it, but there is nothing like getting the reaction of real honest to goodness readers who have bought your book. They don't know you and they know nothing about the story. These readers are the reason I began to write. I wanted to tell a story and I wanted people to read it. The story is a combination of my own life and my daughter's life.
So when I got my first reviews after the book was published I was surprised that my book not only appealed to the age group for which I wrote it, but a lot of older women enjoyed reading it. I was really surprised when the men in my family enjoyed reading it. I gave it to my husband and he said he read it almost non-stop. My own brother who only reads occasionally and then only adventure and nonfiction books, loved it! One of my niece's friends who is in her twenties told me she read the first chapter and wanted to read more. So I started wondering why my book appealed to so many people.
My feeling is many people identify with the angst and chaos of being in high school and the feelings of being an adolescent. Reading about the experiences of my main character, who is bullied and then has to keep her bully's secret in order to become popular, hit a note of familiarity for everyone who has read it. Many people told me it brought them back to their own high school days. The situations were very familiar for some of my readers.
I have enjoyed reading a lot of young adult novels, since I decided I would write for this age, and I also enjoy reading about the experiences of teens and how they solve them. Teen aged problems are usually solved by the end of the book and they result, most of the time, in the character finding a better life for him or herself. Not all adult novels end like that. There is a sense of closure for most YA books at the end. Rarely do I finish an adult novel with that same feeling of closure. I have read through many novels only to come to the end and go, "Huh?" YA authors know their readers need that complete ending and that may be the reason so many people are now reading YA.
In my novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, Carolyn Samuels doesn't feel good about her body. She has been bullied by Jennifer Taylor, a girl who seems perfect in all ways with a great body and plans to be in the Olympics, but Jennifer has a terrible secret. Carolyn finds out about it and has to keep this secret or she will go back to being bullied and have no chance of becoming a cheerleader and being popular. Carolyn thinks she needs to change and be more like Jennifer, so she envies Jennifer. Adding to this, Carolyn has a crush on Brad Morrow, Jennifer's hot Junior quarterback boyfriend. What is a girl to do?
What makes YA so addictive to read? Maybe it's that the characters are teens and react to everything in their lives in a way most of us have forgotten. Things are blown out of proportion and you get caught up in this volatile world and remember when you walked the hallways of your own high school and you dealt with the people who you hoped would ignore you. Even if you were popular one of the stories in a YA book will have you identifying with it. YA books are like peanuts. Once you read one you are going to want to read another. How many people wouldn't want to find out what happens to a girl who is being blackmailed and forced to be friendly with the girl who bullied her?
You can find If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor in the MuseItUp Bookstore, Amazon for Kindle and as a paperback, on Barnes and Noble for Nook and paperback. Now go out and pick up a YA novel and see for yourself how much fun they are to read.:)