I was looking forward to hearing what Dr. Irwin had to say about Young Adult Literature. I have loved getting to read adults books this semester since I am usually surrounded by children's books, but last year during my Materials for Youth class, I fell in love with Young Adult books. My best friend and I are addicted to Twilight, we have read then multiple times and were among the 12-18 year olds that were at the theatre at midnight when New Moon came out. We even have "Property of Cullen" sweatshirts made. Yes, we were those people! :) haha We now can't seem to get enough to vampire books. She has devoured the True Blood series and we are both addicted to the House of Night Series.
I agree with Dr. Irwin that teens read YA "edgy" books because they can relate to it. I teach in IPS and some of my kids have had it pretty rough. They can relate to the drugs, alcohol, abuse, sex, etc. But I also think they read it because they want to read about someone's life that is worse than theirs. I think so that they can say, see my life isn't so bad, look at this kid's. They love the fast paced short stories. They love that they aren't in the children's section. I think it makes them feel older and more important.
I think for the same reasons teens read YA, my age group reads YA. I love fast paced books. Otherwise, I fall asleep. I have to get thrown in to a book and get hooked. I like a book that I take everywhere and can't stand to put down. I like the drama. I grew up very very sheltered out in the fields of Kokomo. I went to a country high school where diversity was a word that didn't exist. You were either Baptist, Methodist, or Catholic...that was our diversity. So to read about inner city kids going through all that horrible stuff not only makes me glad I grew up where I did, but also gives me an idea of what others's lives are like.
I was surprised that the older generation of women are loving YA, but like I pointed out in class, they watch Lifetime and well the same type of drama is in those movies that is also in YA books. I am sure they, too, appreciate the fast paced shorter novels.
Regardless of the reasons why people are loving YA, they are and we have to make sure as librarians that we keep up on it to be able to recommend it to those who want it. I know with budget cuts things are getting tight everywhere. I hope that YA departments can stay in tack. Teens don't want to go to the children's section to get their books and they think they are "old" if they go to the adult's section. Teen are "special" people and therefore need the extra "special" attention.