Twenty years ago we were at the tail-end of the 90s. Have a cry, it’s OK. There, there.
Back then, children did childish things and adults did their taxes and bought lampshades. Somewhere in the middle, teenagers decided what they were too old for so they could stop doing it. Then figure out what they were too young for so they could try their best to do it.
2018 has squished those social rules under its heel and thrown them out the door in a dustpan. We go to adult soft play, play Quidditch and we read Young Adult Fiction while our elders scoff at us and wonder what has become of the world. Well treat yourself to a public service announcement: if this is your idea of the world going to hell, I invite you to wake up and smell the news. It stinks.
Young adult fiction is a fairly new genre aimed at teens under 18, but it has become surprisingly popular among adults. The question the elderly folk ask themselves sin between tutting and checking to see if Linda has mown her lawn yet, is: What are grown adults finding so appealing about books aimed at teenagers?
Some of us grown-ups were teenagers just as the YA genre was starting to take shape, and the first YA novels were ours to lose ourselves in. Some of them were fantastic, while others deserved the pooper-scooper treatment, but all in all, we had the time of our lives with these books.
On those rainy Sundays, daydreaming about our youth and when we had the time to read our evenings away, we remember those warm feelings of peace that are hard to find once you’ve hit your teens. While most of our days are drained away at work, cooking and deciding whether or not we need another bed cushion, YA is a time portal through which we can relive the best bits of our turbulent teenage years.
There’s More Choice Now
In the late 2000s, thanks to self-publishing platforms, the YA genre exploded into the paranormal, supernatural and vampire-filled splendour we know today. Magic and all its possibilities took over the shelves, and now we can’t move for all the YA books out there.
These days, we can dip into any YA sub-genre and not only find the books we loved as teenagers, but thousands more just like it. Trawling the bookshelves of Barnes and Noble, we are way more likely to catch sight of a YA novel and think “14-year-old me would have loved to read this!” There’s too much temptation for us to turn our backs – we simply have to indulge our inner teen.
‘Cause We Can, OK?
Thank goodness we decided that growing up didn’t mean giving up everything we loved as children. Sure, responsibilities are important, and we are adult enough to make time to do our taxes and de-fluff the drier, but the beauty of being an adult is all that sweet autonomy. If we want to skip the gym today, OK. Ice cream for breakfast? Hell, yeah! At the end of the day, if we want to read YA books once we’ve done the dishes, that’s up to us. Maybe we’ll always be judged for it, but we are real bookworms, and we don’t give a damn.
Maybe hundreds of years ago, discarding the best bits of our childhoods might have been a good thing. That, or everyone’s idea of a good time was church. But as we enter an era of adults truly embracing and ready to revisit the activities they enjoyed as a child, we can safely say that YA fiction is something we can all freely enjoy.