We're told that the Young Adult book market is thriving and probably the most competitive of all the age groups, but is it just teenagers that are buying these books? I think not, and this is why: I find maybe one in twenty of the adult books I read truly enjoyable. Whether it be because the story is too literary and self-indulgent, or too racy and explicit, or too gory and gruesome, or just plain dull; they're hard work and unfulfilling, generally. And I often wonder, when I'm reading a book, why I drag my indifferent arse through the swamp of pages that I'm really not enjoying, just to get to the end.
And I choose to read, often to the detriment of other things. But what about all those who find reading difficult or boring? With so many other distractions out there these days: TV, internet, computers, video games, what incentive is there for people to pick up a book and trawl through it just so they can say they have read it? And I'm talking about adults here. The ones that don't have to read regularly, if they don't want to: it's not on their curriculum and there's no teacher breathing down their necks. There are, after all, more important things in life, like feeding the family, and the X-Box.
But then something happened. Someone noticed a gap in the market for teenage fiction and suddenly all teenagers stopped what they were doing and started reading. Well, maybe... some of them, especially on the back of the Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games Trilogy, or even Harry Potter, for that matter. But surely it wasn't just kids inflating that market.
So perhaps it's that us adults enjoy a bit of fun too? We like excitement without lengthy explanations, romance without blatancy, drama without gore, and issues that are dealt with subtly and sensitively, so that we can make up our own minds what the author is trying to tell us without having it thrust in our faces through explicit imagery or hidden from us within a complex and overly fastidious narrative.
When writing a book for teenagers, the author must take into account their relative innocence and naivety. She must tiptoe through the entrails of curiosity, careful not to disturb the sleeping shadows that lurk, and plant a seed. That seed will grow with the story, nurtured by the intrigue, the drama, the delicacy of suggestion, until it manifests itself as the reader's own interpretation. There is nothing blatant about it; there is no demand for the reader to follow instruction. It's subtle, and convincing, and so captivating that it's impossible to look away for fear the spell may be broken.
OR, perhaps it's just that when allowing for a younger mind, one without preconceptions or judgement, as a writer, it's a more attractive and accessible audience, and therefore more appreciative.