Just this past week, I’ve had to do this twice….mention to an adult, who has picked up a book by one of their favourite authors, that this new book is YA or even worse, for middle grade readers. Why would they be so confused? It seems that more often now, well established adult authors are trying their hand at writing for teens or kids. Is it a way to make more money? Or is it just something they’ve always wanted to do? You be the judge.
Now, it’s not that we don’t want our patrons to read something they might like, it’s just that we feel the need to warn them that the subject matter might be a little below their interest level, or even slightly off the wall from what they’re used to reading. Sometimes, a patron will take it and say they want to try it anyway, but more often, they’ll put it down and say they didn’t realize. They aren’t picking these up off the shelf, usually. Either the book has been on a cart, or they’ve put it on hold over the internet. Either way, I always hope they’re not too disappointed.
James Patterson, who was just named the top selling author on this year’s Forbes list (he made $84 million last year), has not only released a series of books for Young Adults, but also one for the younger crowd. His Witch & Wizard series seems to follow the whole Harry Potter fling (I’m sure he didn’t write to trend…..) but is directed at young adults. I think his middle grade book is more obvious.
Kathy Reichs also recently joined the ranks of YA authors with her book, Virals, which could also cross-over into adult reading quite easily (it involves a group of teens solving a crime). The great thing about this new series (the next book is about to be released) is that it comes with a fun, interactive website.
The Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer books by John Grisham are some of the latest to hit the market. Yes, the main character is a kid and he’s a lawyer…..but most teen and juvenile books play with the fantastical and make it work. (You’d probably never believe an adult book that had the main character going back to 1st grade as a student, but a kid lawyer? It works.) The interesting thing about Grisham’s books for kids is that they don’t even appear on his official website, almost like they don’t exist at all. Is this because he doesn’t want his loyal adult readers to get confused? I’m not so sure. But Theodore Boone has his very own interactive website that looks like lots of fun.
Of course, there are many more authors I could use as an example, but these are some of the more famous few. What’s your feeling as an adult reader…would you try any of these, just because they’re written by your favourite author?