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29 June 2009

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Lindsey Carmichael

I work in the children's section of a bookstore and while it's mostly teens buying YA, we've seen a definite upsurge in adult women buying teen books, due to the enormous cross-over appeal of the Twilight series. Like younger women, they've finished Twilight and are looking for other YA titles that are like it. I've also had several women tell me that they prefer YA to adult books because they "are better written" - meaning the plot moves faster and doesn't bog down in description. A lot of mothers with young children are going with YA because the stories are easier to follow in between all their life interruptions.

Miss Tammy

At my library the breakdown is probably about 70% teens and 30% adult.

Molly B

I also work in the children's section of a bookstore, and we get heavy traffic of all ages through the teen section because of the Twilight books. I hear this from young women a lot: 'I don't read, really. Never picked up a book until Twilight. What should I do now?' I get very excited for these people. I want to hug them. Instead, I give them stacks of teen books. The majority of YA readers are YAs, but there is a hefty number of these single women and young moms that aren't afraid to waft by the Twilight table. Few of them will browse the shelves (I suspect they don't all know how), but they gravitate toward the displays. Anything faced out or in a large stack or sitting safely next to Stephenie Meyer, whom they know and understand.

Keri

I agree with Miss Tammy, though the 30% of adults reading YA in my library is helped tremendously by Twilight, the Book Thief (4 copies, always checked out, never to teenagers) and the fact that I display my new books face out and adults pick them up, not realizing they are teen books.

All of my friends read YA books, and judging by my facebook friends, people in their 20s are increasingly reading YA, partly because YA books rock and partly because Nick Hornby and David Sedaris, et al. don't write at the same pace as James Patterson's ghostwriters.

Laura

The YA section users in my library are almost all YAs - I'd put it at 95%. We do have a couple of children's lit students who will read YA, and a few adult men who read quite a bit of YA fantasy. We've also got some street lit in our YA collection, and that occasionally circulates to adults.

Jennie

Mostly teens. Most of the adults who read teens are librarians, or parents of teens who got hooked when they wanted to read what their kids were reading. BUT! I have a feeling that the adults who read teen books just put holds on them and then come pick them up so they don't get "caught" browsing, so I think my observational numbers might be a little off.

rebecca

I am neither a librarian or a bookseller, but I read YA books all of the time (it's not all I read, but I am almost always reading at least one with others on hold). Right now I am reading City of Glass - the third in the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. I most likely read about it here. I have not read the Twilight books. I get my books almost exclusively at the library, I also read J books - most recently the Inkspell series.

Just thought I would throw that out there! BTW I am in my mid-thirties with no children. I follow this blog, the YA-YA-YAs and Meg's Diary (Meg Cabot).

Thanks for all of the GREAT recommendations.

Maureen

The library where I work doesn't have a teen area, only a teen wall. The wall sits there, filled with books, and it is the dedicated reader indeed who plops their heinie on the floor in front of the wall for an hour or so. But those dedicated readers are all teens.

I wander back there a lot, checking to make sure that the wall hasn't fallen down, and most of the casual browsers are teens or tweens. Some parents drag or trail their offspring to the wall, and some lone adults browse, but mostly for manga or comic-book collections. There are a few who seem to be browsing the YA novels. But yeah, most of the readers are the 12-18 demographic.

That being said, a few months back I commandeered a shelf on our right-up-front display unit for teen books, and while they go slower than their adult mystery/biography/cookbook neighbors, they do go. Now that display unit is the happenin' place for the adult set in my library, and in spite of all my efforts, I rarely see teens there. (All that grown-up-ness might rub off on them, y'know.) So maybe adults are picking up stuff there.

Or as it was said above--possibly the adult readers are putting holds on YA from home and sneaking in to pick them up, using the self-serve machines and possibly also putting a paper bag over their heads.

rockinlibrarian

I'm both sides of it-- being a hopeless YA (and J) addict is what made me specialize in youth services as a librarian in the first place. I laughed with recognition at the reasons the first commenter here gave, because they are almost exactly my reasons: I do prefer the tighter pace, and yes, with a toddler and newborn in the house, it takes a week to read a 250 page middle grade-- no way I have the patience to get through a huge tome that isn't constantly grabbing me-- I'd never get through! I would add to my own reasons that I love the energy and passion of YA, and how there's almost always an optimistic side-- you see the growth of the characters. The general characteristics of the age lend themselves to great storytelling. After all, how many of the folktales that have been passed down for centuries are about leaving home, growing up, and other very young adult themes?

Unfortunately in real life I only know one adult with whom I can gush about these books-- the YA librarian I subbed for last fall. While in that position, I rarely saw an adult who was interested in the YA collection. It was nearly all teens. At the smaller library where I work now, I see even less adults with the guts to go down to the teen section. Sometimes they come in looking for a book they heard about -- Twilight for example, though that's slightly different-- and seem disturbed to find out that it's in the YA section-- sometimes they decide that it must be the wrong book then! But the Twilight books are a different case, because there was such a long waiting list, the adults who put it on hold never had to set foot in the teen area!

AndreaC

I am in my early 30s and have been reading YA since before I was a YA - I'm a mother, but my daughter is only 3. I can't wait until she gets to YA so I can read the books with her (I know, it will drive her crazy, probably, but oh well)! I still love teen angst and drama, guess I always will. I'm a sucker for anything supernatural, retellings or updates of classics and fairy tales, a great teen dialogue! Like Rebecca, I check out this blog some but also like to follow Meg Cabot's blog!

Julie

I'm an adult (former bookseller ) who reads YA and even requests new titles to the YA librarian. But I have to say I usually just have the books put on hold and pick them up at the front desk, rather than slog through the "Teen Zone."

francesca

I use the YA and I'm over sixty. One of the reasons I read this blog is because I've been steered to very good YA books.

Cheyenne

I'm an adult who likes YA books, which is why I'm here. I read mostly adult fiction, but I decided that this summer I was going to focus on reading a bunch of YA stuff that I've missed in the last few years. I don't mind going to the teen section to get books and I'm in my mid 20's. I do find it amusing when I want things from the children's section though! Like the Inkheart books that I'm on currently. They're not my favorite, but I'm interested in what happens enough to keep reading.

Cindy

This sounds like a 12 step program -
Hi - I'm an adult, but I read YA :)
Along with mysteries, adult fiction, younger fiction (for my 9 year old boy).
I'm not that young (50 this month) but probably read at least one YA book/month. I started because I wanted to get my middle schooler (at the time - now in high school) steered toward better books. I turned her on to the Uglies series and she shared with many friends. Love this site (and Jen Robinson's). Love the YA section of my local bookstore (I think MollyB might work there).

Thanks for all the recommendations. I finished Graceling recently. Wow!

Cindy

Cindy

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