All Grown Up: teen fiction for adults

As a child and a teenager, I spent my summers reading. I have great memories of lazy days in the sun with my favourite books. As an adult, I’m always trying to return to that kind of youthful reading: where I’m totally absorbed in a book and the rest of the world just melts away. I don’t want to read those teens books again, but I do want that experience replicated.

In the last little while, I’ve been noticing more and more instances of Young Adult authors moving into the world of Adult Fiction. Sometimes these are books from authors I grew up reading, and other times from authors who started writing well after I was a teen. We’ve already written on the Reader about our love of teen novels even as adults, what about the efforts of YA authors for adults?

Sometimes YA authors just plain write a book for grown up audiences. Take an author that many of us know from our youth: Judy Blume. She has actually written several novels for adults over the years, while still remaining most well known as an author of issue based books for teens. The intended audience might be different, but Blume also tackles relationships and tough emotional situations in her three adult novels Wifey, Summer Sisters and Smart Women.

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares and Sweet Valley Confidential: ten years later by Francine Pascal are both books that take the concept of a YA author writing for an audience of adults to its logical extension. Both are follow ups to popular teen series, set ten years later in the story timeline, when the characters (and the audience) are all grown up.

Recently I’ve also encountered a few YA authors who are forging out into Adult Fiction so early in their careers, it seems hard to imagine that their young audience has already grown up. This probably gets back to the popularity of YA fiction among adults these days: if adults are reading your books for teens, why wouldn’t they want to read the ones directed at them? Here are 3 that are coming soon that you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for!

Everything We Ever Wanted
by Sara Shepard. (October 2011)

The author of the popular YA series Pretty Little Liars, turns her pen to a contemporary family drama for an adult audience. From the publisher: “A recently widowed mother of two, Sylvie Bates-McAllister finds her life upended by a late-night phone call from the headmaster of the prestigious private school founded by her grandfather where her adopted son Scott teaches. Allegations of Scott’s involvement in a hazing scandal cause a ripple effect, throwing the entire family into chaos.”

by Eoin Colfer (September 2011).

From the author of the YA fantasy series Artemis Fowl comes a crime novel the publisher describes as “outlandish…maniacal [and] wickedly funny.” “Lincoln McEvoy has a problem. Well, really, he has several, but for this Irish ex-pat bouncer at a seedy, small-time casino the fact that his girlfriend was just murdered in the parking lot is uppermost in his mind. That is until lots of people around him start dying, and not of natural causes. Suddenly Linc’s got half the New Jersey mob, dirty cops and his man-crazy upstairs neighbor after him and he still doesn’t know what’s going on.”

by Ellen Hopkins (October 2011).

Best know for her YA novel-in-verse Crank trilogy, Hopkins is an author who has already established a large crossover adult audience. Triangles is definitely gritter, and racier than what readers have previously experienced in her YA fiction. From the publisher: “three female friends face midlife crises in a no holds-barred exploration of sex, marriage, and the fragility of life . . . In this story of connections and disconnections, one woman’s up is another one’s down, and all three of them will learn the meaning of friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness before it is through.”


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