Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Guys, I think this stuff might be... literature

It's not news that adults are reading YA. It's not even news that YA has gotten huge, that certain novels have changed the landscape and climbed the bestseller lists and that those novels have plenty of adults searching the YA shelves for read-alikes. Until recently, though, this sort of crossover has had the air of a guilty pleasure. That was certainly the case with Twilight, and adult customers looking for The Hunger Games, or looking for something similar to The Hunger Games, often shrug apologetically and say something to the effect of, "I know it's YA, but... I don't know... I like it."

There's been a shift, and its name is John Green.

I don't think anyone's been surprised to see The Fault in Our Stars on best-YA-novels-of-the-year lists
- an honor in itself, and a well-deserved one. But besides that, the book keeps appearing on general best-of-the-year lists, and yesterday, Time Magazine named it the best fiction book of the year.

Ours is an industry whose writers and editors have been asked for generations when they were going  to work on "real books." Somewhere in there, it became fathomable to consider a book for and about young people among those "real books." It's easy to lump all teenagers together and assume that they and the stories that interest them are only concerned with things that are irrelevant to adults, or to put a finer point on it, things that are beneath adults. But not all teenagers are thinking about the same things. Hazel and Augustus, facing mortality far too closely for people of their age, are concerned with how to make a life meaningful. I don't know about you, but I sure don't think that question is beneath me. And I'm pretty sure I'm a real adult, 'cause I cleaned an oven today.

Congratulations, John. Thanks for signing my copy of the best real book of the year.

1 comment:

  1. When I first got into reading YA, it was because of John Green and Looking For Alaska I've asked for one thing for Xmas this year: the autographed John Green boxed set. And earlier today I was over the moon when someone compared what I wrote to The Fault In Our Stars Granted, it was just my one-sentence logline. But still, it was a pretty awesome feeling. TFIOS is the first book I've bought on its release date, and I am so thrilled that both the book and the author have gone 'mainstream', and given the entire YA genre the respect it deserves