Ok, maybe “never” is too strong of a word, but reading adult novels has become a rarity in my life. And I’m an avid reader. And avid reader with a BA in English. Literature, I get. But I still prefer young adult books.
Why, you ask? Quite simply, YA has more fun. And I don’t mean that to sound diminutive. Fun is not bad, cheap, poorly-written, or lesser. Fun is enjoyable.
On a more intellectual level, YA books are often tighter written and edited than adult books. This is because teenagers won’t read something they’re not enjoying. Adults will muddle through a sloppy beginning or an superfluous scene, because they trust it will be worth the wait, but most teenagers simply don’t have the time or the patience for such wasted energy. As a result, YA novels have some of the best pacing out there. You want to learn pacing? Read screenplays or young adult books.
I’m not saying there aren’t fluff novels, because their are (Twilight, anyone?), but there are also a number of highly intelligent, deep, well-thought-out works of great literature being produced at the young adult level. The Book Theif is one of the best examples, which many people don’t even realize is a YA novel.
Right now, I see more risk-taking in YA than every before. Nothing is really off limits anymore. We’re talking sex, drugs, and rock and roll. There is also a lot of variety in YA. You’ve got your light chick-lit, your paranormal romance, you historical fiction, your literary fiction, your fantasy, sci-fi, and adventure fiction. You’ve got graphic novels and illustrated novels. There’s so much happening in the industry right now, and so very much potential.
Here are some of my favorites-of-the-moment, in no particular order:
The Hunger Games, by Susanne Collins
Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater
Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green and David Levithan
Cycler, by Lauren McLaughlin
The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness
Empress of the World, by Sara Ryan