I thought about writing about something more "important" for this blog, but I've decided that this is important.
At first, when I saw that this class would be spending a week on Young Adult fiction, I thought, "Why?" I mean, I've got nothing against it... I enjoy some myself, but this is Adult Readers' Advisory. The bottom line, however, is that many adults do enjoy reading Young Adult fiction. Like I just said, I'm one of them.
It's hard to say for sure where the recent trend started, but it may be the Harry Potter books that got adults back into reading YA fiction. The books are a lot of fun, and their easy to read. Of course, the Twilight books have also gotten a lot of older readers reading YA, this is probably a bit different crowd, but none the less they are finding something of value in books aimed at a younger audience. Around the time that Harry Potter ended, fans found a new fantasy hero in Percy Jackson. Many of these books are being turned into films, and I think this is a good thing, because it draws more people to the books.
The question may be "why?". Why are older readers finding themselves holding these books? Of course, it's not just the fantasy books, there are many realistic books that adults are also finding appealing. I think the biggest reason is that adolescence is such an important part of each person's life, that we never really lose those feelings... we never really let it go. Go to a high-school reunion, you'll see that often the same cliques get back together. The popularity of these books shouldn't really come as a surprise. There are a lot of YA shows on television (hello, CW network) that are very popular with adults. Adults see themselves in these characters. It's a way for them to re-live their youth... or in some cases experience, through the characters in the story, things that they did not or were not able to experience first hand.
Some have said that many of these books are really aimed at adults, just in a younger packaging. I'm not sure this is completely true... I would guess that it's more of a universal thing. The books are aimed at young people, with the underlying appeal to adults... if that makes sense.
I actually think this is a good trend, and the more popular it becomes, the more accepted it will be. Adults should be reading these books on one hand, to be aware of what their children are reading. On the other hand, adults should feel free to embrace this side of themselves... to enjoy an easy read, for pleasure.