Some Young Adult books for adults
Thursday, February 14, 2013
The young adult category has been growing in popularity and not only among teens. Adults are reading Young Adult novels more than ever. A recent study done by Bowker Market Research reveals 84 percent of Young Adult books were purchased by consumers 18 and older. The largest consumer of Young Adult novels – 35 percent – was those ages 18 to 29. The second largest demographic was consumers age 30 to 44.
Dispelling the notion they are purchasing these books for teens, 80 percent of the respondents in that demographic reported they bought the book for themselves. In light of these findings, here are a few great young adult novels not to be missed by any reader.
• Green, John. “The Fault in Our Stars.” Dutton. 2012. 336 p. 978-0525478812.
“The Fault in Our Stars” is about two teenagers who meet in a cancer support group. Narrator Hazel Lancaster is afflicted with thyroid cancer, which has compromised her lungs to the point that she needs an oxygen tank wherever she goes. Augustus Waters, whose leg was claimed by a malignant bone tumor, soon becomes the object of her affection. The witty and thought-provoking conversations between these two lighten the mood and allow the story to flow.
The characters are extremely likable, which makes the book so heart-breaking to follow at times. Hazel’s condition is terminal; this is something the reader is aware of from the beginning, but she doesn’t behave in a way that constantly reminds us of that fact. Instead, her sarcastic wit and outlook on life make her a fun character, maybe someone you would want to be friends with. The humor presented in the book really sets the tone. Instead of simply feeling bad for the characters because of their situation, you fall in love with them, despite their illness, and the grief you feel for them is on a much deeper level. The boldness of Augustus’ character was refreshing and added a believability factor to the story, which ends up being more about life than death. From the very beginning, I was sucked into an emotional attachment to the characters, making it very difficult to actually put the book down.
This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. “The Fault in Our Stars” is really a book about life. And life, even when you are faced with death, is what counts. Green’s celebration of life in the face of death is refreshing. A must read for anyone who has been touched by life-threatening illness.
• Wein, Elizabeth. “Code Name Verity.” Hyperion. 2012. 352 p. 978-1423152194.
This is the story of best friends whose British spy plane crashed in Nazi-occupied France. It begins with Verity in a Gestapo prison. Having been caught as a spy, Verity is a POW. She has been tortured and has agreed to provide a written confession that will reveal information about British air fields, wireless codes, and her best friend Maddie, the pilot of the plane. It is through Verity’s confession we learn about her fears, guilt, and love of her job. Did Verity cause Maddie’s death by parachuting out of the plane before it crashed?
“Code Name Verity” is harrowing and beautifully written. Elizabeth Wein has created a gripping story perfect for fans of historical fiction, adventure, mysteries or thrillers. You won’t be able to put the book down.
If you are a fan of audio books, I recommend listening to this one. Narrators Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell give a truly flawless performance. Their spellbinding narrations bring the book to life.
• Hartman, Rachel. “Seraphina.” Random House. 2012. 465 p. 978-0375866562.
“Seraphina’ draws you in from the very first sentence. Not usually a lover of fantasy or dragons, I was hooked. “Seraphina” is the story of two societies, diametrically different, but living together under a fragile peace treaty.
The characters in this novel are wonderfully developed, as is the world they live in. The first part of the novel is devoted to learning about the beautifully crafted world Hartman creates. The dragons are purely analytical thinkers, while humans are full of emotion and sentiment. How can they co-exist?
This is fantasy at its absolute best: the landscape and inhabitants, customs, religion, language, and conflicts might be completely imaginary, but they are also so completely fathomable you feel like you’ve been transported into a different world.