aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,
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Being labeled a YA – boon or bane?

The Wall Street Journal had an article about YA books, focusing on one possible YA in particular: I Love You, Beth Cooper.

The article says, "Young-adult branding can be a double-edged sword. Many publishers think that teens like to "read up," which means that they don't want to shop in a section of the store focused on teenagers. Yet retailers say their young-adult sections are pulling in the kids. Their offerings often go beyond the formulaic. Craig Schiff, an 8th grader in Larchmont, N.Y., says he has bought and read such books as "Watership Down" and "Lord of the Flies," in young-adult sections. "I'm not reading books about teenagers," he says. "I like good books." …

"In the end, Mr. Doyle's "I Love You, Beth Cooper" was bought by HarperCollins's Ecco imprint, which is marketing the novel to adults. "It talks to 15-year-olds and to those watching Jon Stewart every night," says his editor, Lee Boudreaux. Previously, when she worked at Bertelsmann AG's Random House, she acquired and published Curtis Sittenfeld's "Prep," a book about high school that was marketed to adults. It became a best-seller in 2005."

"Mr. Doyle is happy with his choice. He thinks there's a stigma attached to young-adult books, as there is with "chick lit" aimed at women readers. "If 'To Kill a Mockingbird' or 'The Catcher in the Rye' were published today, they'd almost certainly be young-adult titles," he says. "But then they wouldn't become classics, except in the sense that Judy Blume books are classics.""

Read more here. I think Doyle may be right in that few YAs cross over to adult books. After writing five adult books, I published my first YA last year. I didn't know anything about the depth and richness of the YA world – and I'm a big reader and involved in the book world. Probably only teachers, librarians, and a few parents are aware of the wonderful world of YAs. Oh, and teens, of course.



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