It wasn’t until about Sophomore year in high school that I realized I’d outgrown some of the YA fiction I’d been reading. I had devoured the Sweet Valley High and Sweet Valley University books in middle school and moved on to meatier reading material in the form of Lois Duncan’s mysteries/horrors, my favorites being I Know What You Did Last Summer (way better than the corny movie) and The Twisted Window.
After I read all of these, I allowed myself to explore Classic Fiction. I read tons of Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Jane Austen, and a few others found on the required reading lists through high school. I soon tired of these as well- mostly because I’d end up rereading them in class or because I couldn’t carry on any kind of discussion about them as my classmates were utterly bored and used Cliff Notes instead.
So I found myself searching through the adult fiction. Mostly the fantasy, science fiction and romance sections of the bookstore. And by the time I’d graduated high school, I’d read about as many adult books as I had young adult.
Then, the term “crossover fiction” started leaking around the publishing world. Not in the cross genre sense, but in the YA/adult sense. Agents were looking for books that would bridge the generational divide. Books marketed as YA but that attracted an adult audience as well. The Harry Potter Series paved the way and by the time we got to Twilight, we had people of all ages reading Young Adult fiction again. And why shouldn’t they? It’s fantastic!
And now, unlike when I was teen, it seems that there is a wider selection of books for the ‘semi-adult’. What do I mean by that? Well, think of who you were at seventeen or eighteen or even up until you were twenty. You weren’t a child anymore. You graduated high school, started college, and had to start thinking about your future. Adulthood loomed right over the horizon and yet you hadn’t quite arrived.
That’s how I felt about my reading experience. I wasn’t a child and I didn’t want books about the drama of high school or the pety things teenagers tend to get themselves into (don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and place for all of that, I just didn’t want it). And adult books had some amazing fantasy but it tended to be much darker. and occasionally, the fantasy romances were a little heavy on the sex. So imagine my relief when I found books that were just right. And now, in my twenties, I’m still a complete YA junkie. It’s gotten progressively more insightful, more clever, and more amazing. In my opinion some of the best fiction out there today is on the YA shelves.
What do you all think? Are you fans of crossover fiction or are you more traditional when it comes to your YA?