The Vampire Diaries. The Originals. Teen Wolf. Nashville. Gilmore Girls. Ugly Betty. Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. Dawson’s Creek. Beverly Hills: 90210, Gossip Girl. Veronica Mars. The list of teen dramas goes on, with many of the series having lasted more than the four years on television which, in today’s world, is considered a good run. Post a poll on Facebook, and you’ll see just how many adults enjoyed (or still enjoy) those shows even though they were geared toward a teen audience.
Switching mediums to young adult novels, and you’ll find Twilight, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, The Fault in Our Stars, The Princess Diaries, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lovely Bones, and The Maze Runner to name a few. These are all popular teenage novels that were made into movies, and the buying audience wasn’t just young adults.
Teen fiction is unquestionably popular. As much as adults love books geared toward our generation, we can also lose ourselves in a good story, regardless of the age of the characters. In young adult novels, we have all the drama, the love, the adventure, the danger, without the boring parts of life that we, as adults, have to face every day.
In most cases, young adults can focus on being young adults, and that is a draw to those of us who have already tiptoed past our teenage years. Because of our life experience, we can see a teenage tragedy that’s survivable. What we saw as a crippling moment in our lives was a lesson. These young protagonists are still learning, and we like being along for the journey.
But what about those books that tackle tough topics like death, assault, and homelessness. What can we, as adults, possibly see in those stories? How can they be any more interesting than reading about the same thing in a book written for our age?
Most, it not all, young adult books, even those that delve into the darker edges of life, still carry an element of hope. You can still find meaning within those pages. Young adult books are rarely written with the intent to terrorize readers or leave them feeling hopeless. The endings might not always bring a smile, but we can close the book knowing we survived another journey and, for a few hours, got a chance to relive the years of teenage drama and angst. And, for some reason, those years don’t seem quite as bad as they were at the time.