Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Monday Midday Links: Beverly Barton has passed away.

Romance author Beverly Barton passed away last week. Harlequin community is hosting a virtual memorial.


Nookcolor has undergone a pretty major update. Froyo is one of the newer Android operating systems and with the Froyo update, you get Adobe Flash (can I watch hulu on this sucker?) and access to a new Nook App store. Barnes and Noble says that they have over 5,000 developers for its Nook App store. It’s not a major competitor to the iPad or other tablets but its turning into a very nice multifunction ereading device. More details and a hands on from Engadget.


Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches has a post about Victorian Romances and where you can find these gems. These are all in the public domain which means you can get them free. Her guest poster has a list of recommended reads if you want to dip your toes into the era but aren’t sure where to start.


If you read a blog, you are probably more influenced by the bloggers than by celebrities or so says a study cited by Fox News.

ccording to the BlogHer 2011 Social Media Matters Study, 78 percent of the female American adult populations are active social media users, and of those, nearly twice as many (20 percent) are motivated to consider products promoted by or with a blogger they know, than they are by promotions featuring a celebrity (12 percent).


Buried by Books wonders about the YA bandwaggoning by romance authors. I agree with BbB that Romantic Times was full of romance authors talking about their YA projects. Some of the adult genre authors didn’t even want to talk about their romance books, but wanted only to focus attention on their YA stories. Interestingly enough, some authors believe that YA is just a subset of romance and doesn’t require a different tone or voice. Having heard many agents around the web proclaim that YA is all about tone and voice, this divergence in opinion is surprising. It could be that the YA market is changing or perhaps more adults are buying YA and making YA a subset of romance? I am not sure. What I do believe is that YA cannot withstand the number of authors that romance does. Most YA books are published in trade or hardcover and few readers have the financial wherewithal to support a mass number of authors in those formats.

I’m actually not interested in following many of the romance authors to YA. I’d be interested in hearing what the readers here have to say.


Interestingly Google is going to offer Chrome notebooks on a subscription basis.

For $10-$20 per month, Google will replace faulty hardware for the life of the subscription, and will provide hardware refreshes as they become available. This essentially treats notebooks like a cable modem—a device leased from the cable company as part of your monthly fee in return for replacing it if anything goes wrong

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Janine
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 11:01:11

    Condolences to Beverly Barton’s loved ones and to her readers.

    The comment that YA doesn’t require a change in tone or voice is mind boggling.

    I really enjoy reading YA because it’s such a creative genre right now, with a greater variety of settings and narration styles, for example, than romance. I’ve even come across YA books written entirely in verse (poetry). So from a writer’s perspective, I can completely understand, esp. when you consider that the money can be good in YA, and that YA authors don’t face equally tight deadline pressures, why writers would be drawn to writing in that genre.

    From a reader’s perspective, though, I worry about what will happen to both genres as a result of this transition. I’m sure there will be some wonderful YA books written by romance authors, but I also worry that the influx into YA from romance could mean less diversity of books in YA, and more focus on the romantic angle in YA books to the exclusion of other themes.

    And for the romance genre, I worry that some of my favorite authors will leave it. That happened to romances about ten years ago, when a lot of good writers like Patricia Gaffney, Kathleen Gilles Seidel, Barbara Samuel, and many more left the romance genre for women’s fiction. Romance, esp. historical romance, was published less and was less risk-taking at that time, though I don’t know how much of that was the result of the exodus and how much the exodus was the result of that.

    I wasn’t a big women’s fiction reader back then (and I’m still not), so I stopped reading most of the authors that left romance. Now I am a reader of both romance and YA, so I will have the option to continue following some of the authors who are leaving the romance genre. But I can empathize with the readers who don’t have much interest in YA and who will miss their favorite authors after they leave romance.

  2. library addict
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 11:24:27

    I first read Sarah MacLean’s The Season which is YA. But I do believe it has a different tone than Nine Rules… and her other romance books. I don’t read a whole in the genre, particularly because it seems to me a lot of the romance authors now also writing YA write about vampires and other paranormal and that’s just not my cup of tea.

    I would agree about bloggers being more influential than celebrities, but that’s because the people whose blogs I read may suggest a product, but aren’t actually endorsing or attempting to sell it. More like saying, I bought X and really like it. Or didn’t like Y so returned it to the store. It’s more of a casual thing.

  3. Isobel Carr
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 11:26:40

    The comment that YA doesn’t require a change in tone or voice is mind boggling.

    Well, I was one of the authors in the Twitter discussion who said they think of YA as more plot different than voice different. But that’s because I think voice is innate. For example, Victoria Dahl writes contemps, historicals, and I know she’s got some paranomrals under the bed. And I bet she could write kick-ass, funny, snappy, YA. But what all of these have in common (or would have, in the case of YA), is her VOICE. There’s an undeniable Vickiness to them. While tone and plot may change, the VOICE remains the same.

    Maybe I’m not thinking of voice the same way as the others in this discussion?

  4. Linda S
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 11:26:51

    I am in backlash over the current glut of YA titles to the point that I can’t even enjoy the books anymore. Particularly when they’re written by adult authors who seem to write it as a marketing tool (that works, sadly). I will add the adult fascination with reading teen books to the list of reading trends I don’t quite get, like the threesome proliferation in romance.

  5. LG
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 12:16:43

    I read a lot of YA fiction, particularly YA fiction with strong romantic elements. The number of authors who started with adult fiction and are now trying to jump on the YA bandwagon is pretty amazing, and it’s not really a trend I like. While I do really enjoy YA romance for a variety of reasons, I am more likely to finish a book by a primarily YA author and find myself wishing that they would write romance for adults than vice versa.

  6. Jia
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 12:49:55

    @Isobel Carr: But I do think there’s an overall voice in the YA genre that’s different from the overall voice in any of the adult genres, separate from plot. (I do agree plot structures tend to be different in YA from other genres although the degree & manner of the difference depends on the genre in question.)

    I do read a lot of YA novels and one of the things I often notice in genre-hoppers is that the voice sounds too old. Instead of reading like a teenager, it reads like an older person trying to sound like a teenager. In terms of voice, I personally think that’s where a lot of authors who switch to the genre fail.

  7. Mireya
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 12:51:15

    I only follow YA because I have two nieces (one is 14, the other is 15) who read YA. Period. I am not going to follow any autobuy authors I read to YA unless the author is writing in a subgenre of YA that may interest one of the girls.


  8. Evangeline Holland
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 13:02:19

    @Janine: I’ve always wondered if today’s YA readers will “graduate” to adult fiction, and if not, what that means for the romance genre in particular.

  9. Isobel Carr
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 13:27:35

    But I do think there’s an overall voice in the YA genre that’s different from the overall voice in any of the adult genres, separate from plot.

    Agreed, but I would call this tone or style, so I don’t think we’re talking about the same thing when we use the word voice. Semantics can be such a bitch.

    I often don’t follow fav authors when they switch subgenres, let alone go to a totally different genre. Sometimes I don’t enjoy more than one series by an author even in the same genre (for example, adore Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels books, could not get into The Edge ones though).

    And I think writing good YA is HARD HARD HARD! But I think every writer who wants to try should do so. Just like anything else. There’s nothing sacred about YA as a genre. Some writers may even find that YA is their best, true genre, and I wouldn’t want to them to not find that out because they were afraid to be accused of “chasing the money” or “jumping on the bandwagon”.

    I have an MFA. I’m an award winning poet. I’m DAMN GLAD I didn’t let my lit fic bias deter me from trying my hand at romance.

  10. Janine
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 13:38:59

    @Isobel Carr: I missed that part of the Twitter discussion, and only read Jane’s comment here.

    I was thinking along the same lines as Jia. When it comes to dialogue, character thoughts and first person narration, voice is inextricably tied to characterization. I think in all these cases the writer has to get the sound of the character’s age right. And if the YA book in question is contemporary (including contemporary paranormal), the writer has to know how today’s teens speak to each other.

    I remember reading an interview with YA author Melina Marchetta (Jellicoe Road) where she said she spent a lot of time with teens, listening to their speech patterns and their concerns, so it amazed me that authors think they can skip that.

    Maybe if the author has children in their teens, and their friends hang out at her house, she would have an instinctive grasp of what a teen’s voice would sound like, but otherwise, I think it would require some research.

    The tone of a YA book has to be different as well, for example you can’t have the same explicitness to sex scenes, and in general, YA books strike me as tighter in terms of length. So even if the YA in question is historical or set in a fantasy setting I would expect some difference in tone between that book and the author’s adult books.

  11. Janine
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 13:47:58

    @Evangeline Holland: Interesting question. Some of today’s YA books are so well-written and inventive that if I was leaving my teens, I think I might not be so interested in moving on to adult genres.

  12. Jan
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 13:57:45

    Like @Linda S, the whole YA thing is a reading trend I don’t really get. Unlike Linda, I totally get the threesome thing, so maybe that’s the reason I don’t get the YA thing. Ah thinking circles! Not a fan of love triangles though.


    I don’t think I’d follow my fav authors to YA though. Case in point, I’m a huge Aguirre fan, but Enclave doesn’t tempt me. Teens just never really get under my skin.

  13. Jennifer Leeland
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 14:24:37

    YA is most definitely NOT a “subset” of romance. All the romance authors I know that write YA have a totally different approach to the different genres.
    I think we can agree that Erotic Romance and Sensual Romance have different criteria and voice. I don’t consider ER a “subset” of romance, but its own genre.
    There are romance authors I will follow into the YA genre, but only because I’ve read what they have to offer in the young adult field.
    There are, I guess, always going to be those who “run after the trend” whether they are really inspired to write that type of book or not.

  14. Isobel Carr
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 14:53:58


    so it amazed me that authors think they can skip that.

    I must have missed where someone said that YA didn’t require research or understanding how teens think and talk . . .

  15. Niveau
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 16:19:09

    @Evangeline Holland: For what it’s worth, I’m 20 and while I still read a lot of YA, when I discovered romance a few years back, I thoroughly embraced it. I think that what you’ll find with people like me, who grew up with strong YA, is that we’ll expand to other genres, but we won’t stop reading YA entirely. And I think a lot of that is because the state of YA today means that we don’t have to “graduate” in order to find something that fits an older reading level, the way you do when you move on from middle grade books.

    @Isobel Carr: I too believe that voice is innate, but I also think it’s something authors need to work on, to draw out, and sometimes shape slightly differently. I love Victoria Dahl and I’m sure she could write wonderful YA, but she would have to change her voice. Her characters are kick-ass, funny, and snappy, but they’re not teenagers in more than just age. I’m not talking about tone or style, I’m talking about the thing that makes her novels hers, that gives them spark and life… it’s a great thing, but as it stands now, it’s too old for YA.

    @Jia: Instead of reading like a teenager, it reads like an older person trying to sound like a teenager.

    Agreed, so totally agreed. I find this even with YA-only authors sometimes, but it pops up far more often with genre-hoppers. Characters who underuse contractions, who don’t ever swear, who never seem to appear at school, let alone think about it… these things pop up in many books, but seem to come far more often from the genre-hoppers. (Sidebar: my 15 year-old friend just started reading over my shoulder and completely agreed about characters sounding too old, and about how annoying the almost complete lack of swearing is.)

    I tend to think of authors whose characters are too old and authors who try too hard to be cool as having two different problems. I often classify an author as the latter the second they have a character compose a text, email, or instant message… they’ll overuse numbers-as-letters, add too many emoticons, make an email so short that it should be a text message instead, or use texting language in an email. They name-drop too much, too, which, given how quickly technology changes, is not a good idea. I find that their characters often seem too young, not too old, which is just as much of a problem. The authors whose characters are too old rarely seem to have their characters use technology, except for using cell phones to call other people. No texting, no emailing, no social networking of any type. To me, that’s about not putting enough effort in, not about trying too hard.

  16. Janine
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 16:20:24

    @Isobel Carr:

    I think that saying that YA “doesn’t require a different tone or voice” implies that very strongly.

  17. Pat
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 16:20:27

    I read the first couple of Harry Potters and thought, “Gee, I’d have loved this when I was 12 years old.” I’m afraid I had the same reaction to Lord of the Rings. (I only got about halfway through the first book.)

    So no, I’m not going to be following authors into YA. It’s not that I don’t think it is every bit as hard to write as anything else. It’s just that I’m not 12 anymore.

  18. Janine
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 16:22:04

    @Pat: Harry Potter is Middle Grade fiction, not Young Adult fiction. My understanding is that YA is aimed at 14-21 year olds.

  19. Karenna Colcroft
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 16:59:43

    @Janine: Some people consider the later Harry Potter books to be YA because he’s aged up.

    I’m one of those romance authors who also writes YA, but I didn’t do it because of a bandwagon. I’ve actually been writing YA much longer than romance, but I was published in romance first. I use a different name for my YA, and there isn’t much romance in my YA stories.

    There’s definitely a huge difference in voice and tone between YA and adult. Unfortunately, I’ve read some YA that sounded like the author just slapped a teen’s age on an adult character and called it good. Hopefully that won’t be the case with the books by the romance authors who are migrating.

  20. Janine
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 17:09:26

    @Karenna Colcroft: Thanks for clarifying that, but Pat said she’s only read the first two Harry Potter books, so that would still be Middle Grade, right? I’m asking because I’ve only read the first Harry Potter and it read a lot younger than YA to me. IMO there’s a huge difference between Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and a book like The Hunger Games, in terms of the maturity level required of readers.

  21. Jane
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 17:26:06

    @Niveau I really like your distinction between the characters too old and the authors trying too hard to be cool. I was reading a June Blaze the other day and it really seemed like the author was trying to write more modern (not YA, but more modern) but she had some really old idiom choices. Such as the hero musing that he might have his “man on the prowl card taken away.” I can’t decide whether that is a character too old or trying too hard to be cool.

  22. Tina
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 17:32:49

    I would agree that Harry Potter is unique in that as the characters mature through the books, so do the themes, actions, expectations and, well, the tone of the books. The stuff Harry/Ron/Hermione have to deal with in the first book is markedly different than what they’re dealing with in the last book. Heck, the world they live in in the last book is pretty darned fraught and is light years away from life in the first book.

    I always tell adults who are hesitant about HP,to read the first two books to your kids (or borrow a kid) and then read the rest for yourself.

  23. Evangeline Holland
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 18:24:15

    @Niveau: Thanks for your perspective! Before I turned eighteen, YA was all I read because I never ventured outside of the children’s section of my library. There was so much I found to read even ten years ago, and now that YA is such a huge genre, it interests me to contemplate what could entice a 15 or 18 or even 21 year old reader to grow interested in romance novels

  24. Ridley
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 20:04:37

    @Isobel Carr:

    Well, to take up on your specific example, I love Victoria Dahl’s contemporaries, but think her voice is wayyyyyyyyy too modern for historicals. MJP wrote fabulous historicals, then wrote some PNRs that are not good. Liz Carlyle had a solid run of historicals, then took a turn at historical PNR I’ve heard nothing good about.

    I’d say that the author who can make her voice work well in multiple genres is the rare exception, not the rule. The only ones I can think of are Nora Roberts, LaVyrle Spencer and maybe Lisa Kleypas. That’s some rarefied air up there to be claiming a different genre “doesn’t require a change in tone or voice.” Clearly it requires something that eludes most authors who attempt it.

  25. bettie
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 20:10:06

    When I was a kid, I remember reading “grown-up” sci-fi and fantasy novels with protagonists who were children or teenagers. Now, it seems like stories with younger protagonists are more likely to be sold as YA than adult fiction. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure Ender’s Game was originally published as a sci-fi novel aimed at adults, but now (despite the way the child characters act like miniature adults) you can’t escape a discussion of Sci-Fi for children and teenagers without Ender’s Game getting mentioned. I think 10 years ago, The Hunger Games would have been an adult-oriented sci-fi novel despite the age of its protagonist.

    Maybe the reason so many adults have started reading YA is because it’s gotten harder to find novels with younger protagonists outside of YA.

  26. Pat
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 20:40:58

    @ Janine
    When I was 14-21, I read grownup books. I do not think I was unusual. Most people I know in that age group do the same.

  27. Moriah Jovan
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 21:26:17


    Ditto. YA was actually pretty rare when I was a tween/early teen age. I was reading adult books, cross-genre (although scifi/fantasy and mystery didn’t interest me too much).

    I was reading all the big doorstopper sagas and bodice rippers (yeah, I said it) by the time I was 12 or thereabouts. Flowers in the Attic was practically a rite of passage when I was 13 or so (and apparently it still is), and I’d hardly classify that as YA.

    I remember the short-lived Silhouette teen category romances. I remember the Berkley line of categories for teenage girls. I remember the historical ones with the girls’ names as the titles, but they didn’t come out until my late teens and by the time, I was gearing up for college. I read them, loved them, but they were long past the window where they would have been more appropriate.

  28. SN
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 21:28:18

    I couldn’t believe it when I heard about Beverly Barton. She’d just posted on Twitter, and the next moment she was gone. It’s sad.

    I felt like I grew out of Young Adult books when I was about fourteen. I just wasn’t interested in them anymore. By that age I’d moved onto adult historical fiction and contemporary romantic fiction that well and truly belonged in grown up shelves of bookshops.
    I’m another one who doesn’t understand the adults reading YA craze. Whiny teenagers didn’t even interest me when I WAS whiny teenager!

    I cringe enough at a lot of slightly older romance writers trying to write characters in their 20s and 30s – they make them sound like they’re living in an episode of the Brady Bunch! So I can only imagine how hard it is to write teenagers.

  29. Moriah Jovan
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 21:38:46


    I cringe enough at a lot of slightly older romance writers trying to write characters in their 20s and 30s

    Me neither. I had to really watch myself with the one and only late-20s/early-30s couple I had. The rest are in their late 30s on the cusp of 40, and my latest heroine is 46–all with some life experience under their belts.

    Whiny teenagers didn’t even interest me when I WAS whiny teenager!


  30. Moriah Jovan
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 21:41:14

    The edit function isn’t working for me. I meant to say “me TOO,” not “me NEITHER.”

  31. Leah Hultenschmidt
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 21:50:09

    I read and acquire both YA and romance and see a lot of authors who want to cross over. The first thing I always look for is whether the character sounds like a teen–it’s the toughest thing to pull off. But I certainly see the appeal of wanting to write YA, beyond just the fact that it happens to be really hot right now. Even in the romantic young adult novels, there aren’t necessarily the same rules as in the adult romance category. Plot-wise, there’s a lot more freedom.

    I also think there’s a purely economic side: Ebooks are affecting mass-market sales, in romance more than any other genre. For a number of authors, publishers look at the Bookscan numbers (which don’t reflect ebooks) and see sales going down. Which affects print runs, which affects advances. The YA audience isn’t so heavily ebook-driven quite yet, and the fact that the books come out in trade (most priced at $8.99 and $9.99, not too far off a mass-market) or hardcover also helps offset costs.

  32. Janine
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 22:52:09

    @Pat: I don’t know how long ago that was, but I can tell you that when I was 14-21 (over twenty years ago), I also read almost all books for adults. But now that I’m upwards of twenty years older, I read a fair amount of YA as well as adult fiction. Why is that? Because the YA genre has changed enormously since that time.

    Today’s YA books are a lot more sophisticated and mature in terms of their content than the first Harry Potter (I haven’t read the second) or the first half of the first book of Lord of the Rings (I didn’t finish it either!).

    What I’m saying is that you and I match as far as your description of what you read in your teens and my reaction to books like the first Harry Potter and the first Lord of the Rings book was very similar to yours — I didn’t make it far in either series. And yet I do read YA because of the evolution (or perhaps a better word would be revolution) that has altered that genre.

    And I think the vast difference between the YA published today and the YA published when I was a teen accounts for the reason books like The Hunger Games have enticed so many adults to read them and are now enticing so many authors to try their hands at that genre, so IMO it has a lot of bearing on this discussion.

    I think if you were to try to read a book like The Hunger Games or Jellicoe Road the difference would be immediately apparent to you.

  33. Jan
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 04:49:48

    I don’t know Janine, I think there’s only a couple of books that can overcome the ‘whiny teenagers’ aspect. Even the Hunger Games is a bit overrated. While the plot, story and questions/consequences it raises are very interesting, the love triangle is overused (and badly executed), and the ending of the trilogy was hasty and plain bad writing. (IMO of course)
    Yet a lot of people seem less critical when it comes to YA. Perhaps this is because they are so enamored with the fresh plotting and the likes?

  34. Keishon
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 08:41:27

    I’m actually not interested in following many of the romance authors to YA. I’d be interested in hearing what the readers here have to say.

    Not interested in following them there either. I have my own list of favorites who write what I like in YA literature.

    I am however amused by the judgement of YA novels (overall) as focusing on whiny teenagers or reliving the high school experience because wow, who wants to RELIVE THAT. Those folks who make those proclamations/statements obviously haven’t read YA novels or are reading a few of the popular ones and are passing judgement which isn’t surprising seeing as romance is treated the damn same way. Wow. How very very interesting to see the shoe on the other foot. Everything is relative as they say. I read YA and know that it is not any of those things that I listed above. I read certain authors that for me write the kind of books I enjoy reading. Like any set of books in a sub-genre, you have gems and then you have shit. You just have to weed through them. If you care to that is. YA for me is just a label, nothing more than that but carry on…

  35. Jan
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 08:59:30


    Those folks who make those proclamations/statements obviously haven’t read YA novels or are reading a few of the popular ones and are passing judgement which isn’t surprising seeing as romance is treated the damn same way. Wow. How very very interesting to see the shoe on the other foot.

    It’s okay to not like a genre, be it YA, Romance or something else, it just isn’t ok to judge readers who do like a genre.

    As far as I understood the comments you’re referring too, no one has passed judgement on the readers of YA. Everyone just stated reasons why they personally don’t like YA, which I think is a perfectly valid way of thinking.

    As to myself, I’ve tried various subgenres of YA, and figured out that the reason why none blew me away, is because I’m just not that interested in the teenage state of mind. Because in general, teenagers whine, thanks to the insecurities of growing up and finding a place in the world. It’s what makes them teenagers. At least that’s how I see it.

  36. Keishon
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 09:31:28

    @Jan: I should clarify that my rant is geared beyond this post but if you hold those beliefs that I’ve been hearing about for years then yes, I’m talking to you too. I’ve been hearing all the talk about YA this and YA that for several years now. Same old arguments and proclamations. Just like any genre, there are some books that exemplify it and some that bring it down. Just like romance. Does reading Cassie Edwards exemplify the best of the romance genre to you? No it does not. Same argument for YA. That’s all I was trying to convey albeit it may not have been the best way of putting it but I’m finished discussing it here.

  37. Jane
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 10:11:11

    I think the YA bandwaggoning thing might also have to do with this.

    “The competition for young-adult material and the market for speculative fiction, including books and packaging deals, are picking up,” says Erik Feig, Summit’s president of world-wide production and acquisitions. “Our biggest challenge now is to find innovative voices without repeating ourselves so fans don’t feel like we’re giving them something that’s a duplicate.”

  38. DS
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 10:12:06

    @bettie: I noticed this also. I ended up following sff writers I enjoyed as a young reader into adulthood even while I’ve read “adult” books all the time as well.

    I wonder how long the concept of young adult books has been around– mid 20th century? Authors like Charles Dickens whose books David Copperfield and Great Expectations are often required reading in high schools, although they were written for adults. If the whole point were to read classics I guess that students would be given a shot at Lady Chatterley’s Lover (which we had to pass around before and after class) or Ulysses. No, we were supposed to be interested in these books because the protagonists at least started off at a younger age.

  39. Janine
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 14:50:50

    @Jan: I don’t think the love triangle was supposed to be the main focus of The Hunger Games, although I know many romance readers read for the romantic angle. To me the story was about oppression, war and loss and probably the most powerful love was Katniss’s love for her younger sister Prim.

    With that said I did enjoy the development of Katniss and Peta and the last book actually really touched me, though that may be because I am the grandchild of Holocaust survivors and saw something of my grandmother, who lost almost her entire family, but was still a survivor, in Katniss at the end of the story.

    But I can think of several YA characters that don’t have whiny characters, for example Megan Whalen Turner’s Thief series (esp. books 2-4) or Sharon Shinn’s The Dream Maker’s Magic.

    Then again, I don’t necessarily mind an less than fully mature character if the story is about how they grow and change for the better.

  40. Janine
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 14:51:48

    @Keishon: Word.

  41. Moriah Jovan
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 14:57:04


    I’ve been thinking about your comment and I am guilty as charged.

    However, it leads me to the same question I’ve been having since the YA craze started: What is YA giving adults that adult fiction (specifically, romance) is not? And why not? Are publishers so afraid of diversifying that they would rather risk losing an audience with limited dollars than experiment with riskier plots/themes?

    That is at the core of my not understanding why adults read YA.

  42. Niveau
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 17:07:41

    @Keishon: I knew anyone who used a picture of Rukia as their avatar would have to be awesome, but you totally outdid my expectations there :)

  43. Evangeline Holland
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 18:11:48

    @Moriah Jovan: This! I’d really like to hear answers from adult readers of YA fiction.

  44. LG
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 20:20:48

    @Moriah Jovan: I’m pretty sure my answer below isn’t very good (it’s harder to explain why I like YA fiction than I thought it would be), but I hope some of it makes sense.

    One part of the answer to your question, for me, is the teen protagonists. It’s the coming of age thing, I think – these characters are at a time in their life when they are figuring themselves and their lives out, and I think that can be thrilling to read. When I’m reading a good YA fiction novel, I want to see where these characters are going to go and what they’re going to accomplish. In quite a few YA novels I enjoy, these characters are stripped completely or partially of adult support, forcing them to figure out how to stand on their own. I love that.

    As far as YA romance goes, there are several things I tend to enjoy. I know, not all romance for adults includes sex scenes, and some YA romance does have sex – but with YA romance I have a better overall chance of getting an intense emotional relationship without a chunk of the page count being sex scenes.

    Aside from all that, there are some types of stories I enjoy that just can’t happen in romance for adults, like school stories.

  45. Trisha
    Apr 28, 2011 @ 02:06:33

    I remember blogging about the romance/chick lit–>YA bandwagon four years ago. YA as a subset of romance fiction that doesn’t require a change in tone or voice is new to me, though, and count me among those who disagree.

    @Moriah Jovan: I don’t think it’s any one thing, but a combination of factors. Among them, YA protagonists seem to be allowed more faults and flaws than your standard romance hero/heroine. They can be imperfect or less than heroic, and depending on the author or story, it can make them more compelling to read about. Two, as a couple people said above, there’s also more variety in terms of plots. Three, the series factor, though I hate to say this because I’m sick of every other YA book I pick up being part of a series. Outside of Eve and Roarke, how many adult romance series focusing on the same characters are there? Adult romance series = let’s give all the friends/family members/other members of the spy ring/military unit their own book. YA series = follow the same main character (or group of friends/”friends”) through multiple books. A lot of people like the familiarity of returning to a favorite character (like mystery series, right?).

  46. Jane
    Apr 28, 2011 @ 07:54:25

    @Trisha Thanks for jumping in Trisha. Here’s a question for everyone. It’s been widely reported that one thing that teens like to do is read fiction created by their peers. Would it ever be okay for an adult author to pose as a teen to create “authenticity” for the author’s voice much like some women do in m/m fiction?

  47. Moriah Jovan
    Apr 28, 2011 @ 10:39:14

    Thank you, LG and Trisha. That makes sense to me, and I appreciate it.

    I didn’t mean to hurt anybody’s feelings with my questions. It appeared to me that readers were fleeing FROM romance TO Young adult (hence romance authors following them there) and I wanted to understand what needs adult lit wasn’t meeting that readers got elsewhere (solely in terms of diversity of plot).

    So thank you for taking the time to help me understand.

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