While young adult novels are typically geared to those in the 12-18 age range, they’ve become increasingly popular amongst all age groups and genders—it’s no longer surprising to find middle age readers frequenting the young adult aisles of your favorite book store. In fact, it’s become the standard.
Readers embrace books for young adults regardless of their age because the themes and issues addressed are relatable for everyone. Readers of dystopian novels, paranormal romance novels, and science fiction and fantasy books are especially fanatical, as many books for young adults cross the boundaries for a satisfying mix that usually offers a message that everyone can identify with.
The diverse topics explored in young adult novels expose readers to unfamiliar aspects of their world as well as other cultures, while examining deep issues in a nonthreatening way. They offer a chance to empathize with the book’s protagonist and other characters, while learning the importance of relationships, sources of conflict and methods of resolution. In addition, readers see how the characters cope with situations and tragedies, and evolve as a result.
Often times, readers will be inspired by the message in these books. For example, many popular dystopian novels feature an empowered female protagonist who overcomes wide-ranging obstacles to survive in a world or situation that’s basically considered hopeless. The outcome of these novels gives the reader a glimmer of hope and ideas for coping with similar situations in real life.
Readers who fall outside the conventional demographic for books for young adults may not be facing issues such as peer pressure, losing one’s virginity and drug experimentation—however, nearly everyone experiences these situations at one time or another, most likely during the coming of age period. So while they may not be relating at this exact moment, they can apply past experience to empathize with the themes and even use some of the fundamental aspects of the message in present day. This element also adds to the escapism factor of reading, allowing the reader to reminisce about days gone by, past accomplishments and past relationships.
Even when a book takes place in an otherworldly setting, like what you may find in science fiction and fantasy books and paranormal romance novels, young adult characters will typically still deal with the issues of adolescence and crossing the threshold into adulthood. Some great examples of this include Vampire Academy, The Host, Revealing Eden, Bitten and Graceling.