It seems like everybody and their mother has tweeted or blogged their response to Pamela Paul's essay in last week's New York Times Book Review. While I can't say I'm totally surprised, and agree with Gayle Forman that the NYTimes is a little behind on realizing that adults are reading YA and children's books -- I mean, seriously, who hasn't spied many a subway reader reading Twilight or The Hunger Games -- I guess my initial reaction is that Paul needed to have her interest in YA validated by the literary establishment. Or maybe it's just what the New York Times needed? I don't know.
At the Homewood Library, we recognized this trend and started a Cross Overs book discussion group, where we discussed YA titles with all ages (well, we opened it up to ages 11 to 111). Adults from all backgrounds have been drawn to YA for precisely the reasons that are pointed out in the article, from the books' raw emotion and the "immediacy of the prose," to the fact that, frankly, there's a lot of excellent storytelling going on in YA right now. As someone who is completely absorbed in reading and trying to parcel out my time for worthy books, I've found that I can no longer get through many adult books, even the ones with stellar reviews that appeal to my taste. Compared to most YA, it takes so long for the story to get started in these literary adult books that I flat out lose interest. Despite the fact that I used to get through an adult book a week before serving on the Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee, I've found that now, I can't even check adult books out from the library. I just can't seem to read them before their due dates arrive.
While it's great to read that Lev Grossman and Caitlin Macy are discussing and enjoying YA, it's kind of amusing to think that they've only been doing this since 2008. They've got a lot of catching up to do.