Between Shades of Gray

In a world full of supernatural romances, million dollar blockbusters, and emotional angst, one thing is for certain: teen books have begun to reach an audience far outside the traditional age range.

The international popularity of Twilight and The Hunger Games is hard to ignore, but many other Young Adult (YA) novels are becoming exceedingly popular.  Many classics resonate through generations and tell timeless tales of action, adventure, love, loss, and self-discovery.  More recent novels such as Beastly, Harry Potter, and the Hobbit are just some of the many teen novels adapted to film in the past year.

What is behind this surge in popularity for YA literature?  For starters, it’s not just teens reading these books anymore.  According to a September press release from Bowker*, 55% of people buying Young Adult fiction are over the age of 18. These books have become popular with adults of all ages for many reasons.

Typically these books are slightly shorter than adult literature, which means they are easier to finish in less time and they are easy to relate to, because every adult knows what it feels like to be a teen.  Many teen favorites like Hugo and Ender’s Game turn into Hollywood blockbuster mega-hits as well. The Morton Grove Public Library sponsors a monthly book club called Pages devoted to adults reading award winning teen literature.  The books discussed go beyond the typical stories of high school drama and vampire romances and dive into perilous worlds of dystopias, historical depictions of World War II, or complicated family situations.

Once a month we meet at Barnes & Noble at Village Crossings Shopping Center (5405 Touhy Ave in Skokie).  This month’s meeting will take place on Monday, December 10 at 7pm to discuss Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys.  For more information on this book, visit MGPL’s catalog.  The January discussion will meet on Jan 14th to discuss Divergent by Veronica Roth; read it before comes to theaters in 2014. 

*Bowker. (2012). Young Adult Books Attracting Growing Numbers of Adult Fans [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.bowker.com/en-US/aboutus/press_room/2012/pr_09132012.shtml

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