Twilight and the Enduring Draw of YA Fiction

The Atlantic has just launched a four-part series on the rise of YA fiction over the last decade. In today’s installment they talk about the impact of Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Ender’s Game on the genre.

“In a world of niche marketing, mass entertainment phenomena are rarer and rarer. But in the last decade, fans of all ages have flocked repeatedly to series aimed at young adults. Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy may be popular, but Lisbeth Salander can’t hold a candle to Harry Potter: The traumatized Scandanavian hacker’s sold 27 million novels to the British boy wizard’s 400 million. Bella Swan, the moody teen who takes up with a vampire, has propelled Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series to 116 million book sales. Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy hasn’t quite broken into that upper echelon, but the movie adaptation has attracted such buzz that it’s finally propelled forward a long-stalled film version of Orson Scott Card’s 1985 YA science-fiction classic Ender’s Game. Marie Lu’s novel Legend hasn’t even been published yet, but the producers behind the Twilight movie adaptations are already shepherding it towards the big screen.”

See more on The Atlantic.

Comments

  1. You know, even tho’ they marketed it in a YA market, Stephenie has repeatedly said she did not write it for a YA adult market. It was written for whom ever wanted to read it. I haven’t been a YA for a hundred yrs now (not literally :) and they rank among my favorite books of all time..

  2. I’ve been reading YA science fiction since before I was a YA and now I am in my 60’s and still reading them or rereading. One appeal I think is that we have all been there. There are life lessons that the characters learn in the story, that maybe we didn’t learn when we were YA or maybe we need to be reminded about what we learned or maybe the story illuminates things in a different way for our current situations.

  3. smitten_by_twilight says:

    Promises to be an awesome series.

    The best thing I’ve heard about Twilight’s unique appeal was said by Tinsel Korey in a recent interview; that Twilight is the first big speculative fiction book for females. I’ve been reading spec fic for decades, and avoiding girlie books most of that. I’ve read lots of stuff by women (Bradley, Kurtz) and female heroines, but Twilight is an unabashed romance, heavy on dialogue, with a very feminine hero who is strong in a very girlie way, yet it includes the spec fic elements that I ike for their ability to provoke thoughtful metaphor. I’ve never read anything else quite like it.

  4. I read and review books for the school district I work in. A lot of the YA I’m reading right now could easily be at home outside of that moniker. I’m a big believer that I good book is a good book regardless of genre.
    I have never seen an up tick like the current one in YA female centered Spec Fiction. Being a fan of Fantasy and Sci-Fi I’m naturally thrilled. I think Smitten brings up some great points. I would add that because of the rise in the more female oriented vein you are also seeing it in the gender neutral spec fic as well.
    I do have a theory about this current increase. I think publishing houses are in a bit of flux right now. With the increase in e-books and authors self-publishing they are a little more hesitant to take chances on new authors in the “adult” categories. However, with the success of Rowling, Meyer etc. you see these houses taking a risk in the YA area looking for that next big thing. Young adults are more likely to follow a trend, be it one in music or movies or clothing etc. I say this with utter respect for the authors and I do not think it is a negative thing in the slightest.

  5. The thing is about YA books, and why they have such a long lasting appeal, is the fact that the stories are easy for just about anyone to pick up, especially the fantasy types. Most mega-selling YA books fall into the fantasy catagory. They can be very mature about their content, such as Hunger Games, but yet they still have that PG to PG-13ish appeal that people can appreciate at any level. In truth, I don’t think calling Twilight a YA novel is a put down at all. For it to be put in the same catagory as Harry Potter is saying something.

  6. Normally I do not learn article on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to try and do so! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thank you, very nice article.

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