I am so excited that author T.M. Franklin wrote a special post for us here at BT, as part of her book blog tour for The Guardians release.
Why We Love YA
In this post-Fifty Shades world, erotica seems to be the hot publishing trend. But there is a market for books with a more innocent appeal, although that market seems to have taken a hit this year.
According to a survey by The Association of American Publishers, children’s and young adult eBook revenues were down nearly 46% for the first half of 2013. This, after a boost to the genre in 2012, largely due to the first Hunger Games movie, as well as the popular Divergent franchise (also soon to be a major motion picture.) Still, the survey says children’s and YA sales topped half a billion dollars for January-June, which is quite a chunk of change.
But although YA books are traditionally “written for, published for, or marketed to adolescents and young adults, roughly ages 13 to 21,” according to Goodreads, teenagers aren’t the only ones reading. In fact, a study by Publisher’s Weekly shows that 55% of YA book buyers are over eighteen, with the biggest chunk—about 28%—between the ages of 35 and 44.
So what’s the appeal of these books to the older demographic? I asked some over-eighteen readers what they like about YA.
“They are quick and easy reads, not too much thinking involved and I can relate to the characters.” – Justine V.
“Okay, I admit I am not 18. But I do read YA. I plan to be a writer in the near future so I read pretty much read all books to get an idea of what’s popular. I read YA particularly because I find them easy to relate to.” – Raj
“I am WAY over 18 but I love going back to that stage in life and sometimes reliving things through those books. They remind me of stuff I did and stuff I did not get to do, but I kind of have the luck of living and doing once again by reading them. I also enjoy the emotions I feel while reading.” – Carolina McGoey
“I read YA because I have a major case of arrested development and have a soft spot for the self-absorbed vacuity of youth. Quite frankly, I get bored reading about adult problems. Full disclosure, I’ve been told I’m a YA writer masquerading as an adult novelist, so apparently these themes appeal to me enough that I write about them. A lot.” – Brian Sweany
“I love a good YA. Mostly because I have the emotional maturity of a 16 year old. Also because, in my opinion, that is a fun, weird time of life. Nothing better than eavesdropping on a group of teens. Hilarity.” – Angel Lawson
“I only read YA, and I’m way over 18. I read it because grown up life is stressful and complicated and I love that I can open a YA book and through the characters, experience a first kiss, the flutter of his hand finding mine in the dark and finding out he likes me back (all without actually cheating on my husband!)” – Stephanie
Escapism seems to be a common theme among YA-lovers – slipping back to a more innocent time, without the pressures of adulthood, when our biggest concerns were passing that math test or getting a date to Homecoming. In addition, of course, there’s that all-encompassing exhilaration of first love, something Ava is just beginning to explore in The Guardians.
Caleb propped a hand on the tree behind her, nuzzling along her neck and placing a soft kiss behind her ear.
“We’re supposed to be training,” Ava said, a little breathless and maybe a bit distracted, as well.
“Too much training isn’t good for you.”
She laughed. “Oh, and where did you hear that?”
He trailed kisses down her neck, sucking lightly at her collarbone where it peeked out from under her shirt. “Common knowledge,” he said into the hollow at her throat. “All work and no play . . . blah, blah, blah.” Caleb waved an idle hand as he scraped his teeth lightly against her skin.
Ava gasped. “You make a valid point,” she said, her voice trembling, revealing his effect on her.
He lifted his head with a victorious smirk. “I knew you’d see it my way.”
His response was muffled because Caleb chose that moment to kiss her properly.
It had been months since the first time Caleb kissed her, but Ava still had yet to get used to the electrifying sensation. It wasn’t only the physical act, the press of lips to lips, which was spectacular—all hot and wet and demanding and . . . hot—but kissing Caleb also sparked a mingling of their power. She recognized it now, the electric tingle of Caleb’s Race gift sizzling along her skin, penetrating into her very center, and slowly—deliciously—wrapping itself around her power, the two weaving together in a sensual dance that left her dizzy once he pulled away. It was why she always fought it when he tried to stop.
She felt a little pathetic about it, as though she had absolutely no control over her own body. She didn’t, at least when it came to Caleb. Still, it was more than lust—more than simple physical attraction. Ava was relatively sure she was in love with Caleb, although she had yet to say the words out loud. Maybe it made her a coward, but she was an old-fashioned girl and wanted him to say it first. Or maybe old-fashioned had nothing to do with it. Maybe she just didn’t want to make a fool of herself.
It was possible.
-The Guardians, Chapter 1
Of course, it’s not all kissing and swoon for Ava and Caleb. They have a few more challenges ahead before they can even think about a happy ending. But for YA readers, the journey is just as important as the destination. It’s not about the genre, but about the quality of the story.
Perhaps YA reader Brook Williams put it best. “I read YA because I enjoy good books,” she said. “If it happens to be YA, so be it!”
T.M. Franklin started out her career writing non-fiction in a television newsroom. Graduating with a B.A. in Communications specializing in broadcast journalism and production, she worked for nine years as a major market television news producer, and garnered two regional Emmy Awards, before she resigned to be a full-time mom and part-time freelance writer. After writing and unsuccessfully querying a novel that she now admits, “is not that great,” she decided to follow the advice of one of the agents who turned her down—write some more and get better at it. Her first published novel, MORE, was born during National Novel Writing month, a challenge to write a novel in thirty days.
She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, Mike, is mom to two boys, Justin and Ryan, and has an enormous black dog named Rocky who’s always lying nearby while she’s writing. Whether he’s soothed by the clicking of the computer keys or just waiting for someone to rub his belly is up for debate.
In addition to MORE and The Guardians, Franklin penned the Amazon best-selling short story, Window, as well as another short story, A Piece of Cake, which appears in the Romantic Interludes anthology.
Connect with T.M. Franklin
Stay tuned for my review of both books, More and The Guardians, later on today. There will be a giveaway and book trailers too!!