Is it escapism? There's certainly an element of that.
Is it nostalgia for our teen years? In my case, I would answer absolutely not. Been there, done that, and it wasn't that much fun. It took me too many years to move forward, and there's no way I want to go back, even vicariously through fiction.
So what is it about YA?
For one thing, todays young adult authors take risks: with voice, narrative structure, social commentary and creativity. It's a wide open field. For example, the Book Thief. It's a Holocaust memoir narrated by Death. How clever, different and interesting is that?
I think the Harry Potter phenomenon kicked it all off. At least that's where my interest began. I checked out Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone from the library, and from then on, I was hooked. It has a perfect combination of everything. A fantasy world combining magic with the supernatural and paranormal and everything in between and on either side. Being cross-genre, it has elements of fantasy, mystery, thriller, adventure and romance. You can have it all!
I've heard modern young adult fiction referred to as desperation lit and disaster fiction. The truth is, it has the same themes as adult fiction: death, loss, prejudice, war, corruption. While there is an element of truth to these labels, they are only part of the truth. There is always a balance; for every dark thing, there is a corresponding light. For every bad, a good.
In modern young adult fiction, by the end of the book, we still have hope, redemption, a moral code, growth, triumph over adversity and integrity. Perhaps in this challenging world we now live in, we all need these core beliefs to be reaffirmed, whether we are adults or almost-adults. We know life is hard, but hard is okay when it's balanced with a belief in yourself and your fellow man.
Why do you read young adult fiction?
What don't you like about young adult fiction?