Why are adults reading children’s and young adult books? – because they’re better!

children's books, why adults read, why adults read kids books, young adult books

The Guardian has an article today asking why adults are reading children’s and young adult books: http://bit.ly/1A2TXsG

To me, it’s obvious – because they’re better.

The problem with grown-up books is that (massive generalisation alert!) when they’re literary they’ve got no plot, and when they’re populist, they’ve got no depth.

I once went looking for the best thrillers ever written.  A website pointed me at “The Firm” – which was Ok, but a bit empty.  Then I read Simon Mayo’s Excellent “Itch” – a young adult book which was twice as exciting, twice as clever, and had more intellectual clout.

The Hunger Games, A Monster Calls, The Iron Man – I could go on, but basically what these books have in common is that when you’re writing a children’s or young adult book, there are no excuses:  if the kids are really going to like what you do, you HAVE to have intellectual and emotional depth, and you HAVE to have page-turning excitement.

Drop either for a couple of pages and you’ve lost them.

Adult writing can suffer from waffle, self-indulgence and transparent characterisation.  Kids and young adults can spot this stuff a mile off and just won’t tolerate it.

Conan Doyle wrote in the intro to “The Lost World” (one of the best children’s / YA books ever written without any kids in it):

“I have wrought my simple plan
If I give one hour of joy
To the boy who’s half a man,
Or the man who’s half a boy.”

Enough said.

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