“Teens are still buying far more young adult books that adults do, representing 72 percent of YA books sold. Basically, teens buy more YA books, per person, than adults, despite being a smaller percentage of the actual buyers of YA books.”
The Atlantic Wire went further last week, in a post titled “Adults Are Devouring Kids’ Books For Good Reason” which seems complimentary of YA on the surface, but then included this passage:
“…the fact is, Y.A. novels are usually based in some basic, relatable premises. How these worlds are rendered is as creative and imaginative as any other book, but the fundamental topics addressed—death, love, survival, growing up, trials of life, and so on—are things we all understand on the most visceral of levels. At the same time that we relate we can escape in them. The writing is breezy, usually, certainly lighter and faster than that Russian novel we're toting around with us to look smart, and it's more personal and immediate, without the veneer of intellect that can make certain adult books muddy wading. The books aren't as long, as convoluted, or as heavy, either. The characters are simply yet effectively drawn. The lessons built into the books do not have to be deeply studied or carefully parsed, we usually get them implicitly.”
I really wish that people would just stop generalizing all of young adult literature in this way. Yes, there are YA novels with simple premises, “breezy” writing, and straightforward lessons. There are hundreds of “adult” novels that fit that exact same bill. There are also hundreds of YA novels with difficult premises, dense and descriptive writing, and heavy themes (and more than just a “veneer” of intellect, I might add.)
In happier news, Viking has picked up Stranger, the joint effort of Sherwood Smith and Rachel Manija Brown, with no straight-washing necessary. A year ago Smith and Brown reported that an agent had encouraged them to change the sexual orientation of their main character, claiming that a book with a gay lead wouldn’t sell. To this agent, whoever you are, I would just personally like to say: In your face!
Here’s a very intelligent, sweet article from YC Teen that gave me hope for readers and made me a bit teary-eyed – “What’s Wrong With Reading?” – written by a teen reader.
And for all the Angelfall fans out there – Susan Ee was interviewed by Entertainment Weekly this week.
Vacuous Minx posted the second part of her investigation into Goodreads’ practices: How Goodreads Caters to Authors (Part Two), and in the same week Zola Books launches its new site which advertises:
“Zola Books will launch with its social component, with retail and recommendation components to launch soon. Beginning September 20, publishers, readers, and authors can register on Zola Books and begin connecting with one another. Publishers can begin setting up "storefronts"--pages that Regal says are meant to solve discoverability problems by allowing publishers to be "reader-facing brands." The launch also allows publishers to interact with followers and curate their titles for discoverability, and, once Zola Books begins its retail aspect in mid October, they'll be able to access weekly sales numbers, number of books viewed, and books wishlisted.”
I am ever-hopeful for a better, more reader-centric alternative to Goodreads, but unfortunately this sounds even more author/publisher/bookseller-centric. I still think that the Goodreads community is pretty ripe for the plucking, should an enterprising person come up with something better, but for now it might be the best bet of very limited options.
Do you have any exciting plans for this weekend? Stop by and let us know!