Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Books About Grown-ups

No worries. The blog hop lives on. Scroll down to the Birthday Blog Hop to find out how you can enter to win more than 200 prizes including my novel, a necklace and oh yeah, a free download of my novel Stealing Mercy.

Now, a word in favor of grownup books.

I live in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA. We moved here when the lake was a hole in the ground, the golf course a splotch of mud and the library was a promise. Coyotes used to roam the streets and for awhile a naked homeless man lived in the canyon. We’ve grown up considerably since those early days before grocery stores and dry cleaners came to settle in the town center. Now, we not only have water in our lake and grass on the golf course, we also have restaurants, movie theaters, and a fine library. Rancho is a lovely place to be, but that doesn’t mean anyone from Mission Viejo shops here. The rumor is that Rancho citizens will shop in Mission Viejo, simply because for years the shopping in Mission Viejo was the closest option, but the favor isn’t returned. Why would the Mission Viejo people ever need to cross the bridge to Rancho? It just isn’t done.
Can the same thing be true for young adult lit? Adults read books about teenagers, but do teenagers read books about the middle-aged? (Probably only if they’ve been given school assignment.) With this knowledge in my pocket, it makes sense to write young adult lit. Except that it seems that everyone has a young adult story to tell…and did you know that the majority of readers are sister baby-boomers? Baby boomers have the most disposable time and income—but are they interested in reading about the middle aged?
The novel I just finished, A Ghost of a Second Chance, is about a woman approaching forty. Forty isn’t old. There’s a joke about a woman going through menopause who is at the doctor’s office and she tells him, but forty is the new thirty and he replies, tell that to your ovaries. So, our ovaries haven’t gotten the message, but has our society? With the rise of magazines such as More and bestsellers such as What Alice Forgot and Chasing Rainbows can we say the tide has turned? Can we start reading about grown-ups?

I hope so. I really want to catch that wave. But, tell me what do you think? Is the world ready, willing and eager for books about grown-ups or is the fascination with youth too strong to overcome?


  1. A love YA because they seem to be more hopeful. I think they are big right now because the world needs more hope.

  2. I'm not published yet but I have lots of stories to write. One of the first series I came up with started with the idea of all older characters for the main characters. As the story became a huge idea in my head the characters all turned to teenagers.

    I guess it's probably because I am a teenager and I feel comfortable with teenage MC's. But I do believe that maybe it's time to bring more adults into stories. Especially as main characters.

    While I agree with Jessica's comment, I think people could feel hope from adult characters and book as much as from YA.

  3. I tend to read YA because it usually has less swearing, sex, etc. These days you have to be careful because some publishers think edgy is where it's at. If I knew there was a good clean novel written about a subject I was interested In, I'd read it no matter what the age of the protagonist.

  4. I am frustrated with the "YA" label, because it isn't about "young adults." Even though YA books are read mostly by adult women, publishers and the reading public clearly have a teenage mindset as the intended audience. This is why the sex and language are almost invariably muted.

    I would welcome the YA label if the content really were aimed at adults - for example, if sexuality were dealt with honestly.

  5. Oh don't I wish that were the new tide! I guess I'm a little different because for the most part, I don't read YA. I would rather read books with adult characters and problems, with one caveat--without the sex and language, as mentioned in a previous comment. But honestly, I've put down quite a few YA books because they still had the sex and language (like many adult books), but the setting and problems were high school rather than real life which made it even harder for me to be interested in.

    So I'm excited to read books like the one mentioned in the post--I loved the line "Forty is the new thirty" as well as the follow up line! Thanks for the smile :)

  6. Sometimes I'll read YA and wonder--does this author know any teenagers? And true, undying love when you're 17 or 18? It can happen--my parents are examples--but it usually doesn't and that's usually a good thing.