Monday, November 26, 2012

While we’re being honest…

The headlines and tweets about the new Harper Collins YA imprint perplexed me this morning:
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Wait, aren’t there a half dozen HC imprints that do YA? What are they aiming at? (I thought I was the only one with my sights set on the debauched an impoverished corner of the YA market).
But then I read the New York Times piece and the specifics of the imprint’s plan cleared up my confusion. But the article went beyond that even.
Readers of Y.A. have embraced digital reading in a big way,” [President and publisher Susan] Katz said. [Emphasis mine.]
Up until very recently, you could rely on that statement to begin“Teens have embraced….” This is, I think, a meaningful part of a shift toward open acknowledgment that the main character of a book need not mirror the reader of that book for the match to be a happy one. So, that tweet is wrong on one important level. They’re not aiming at a market of young adults. They’re aiming books about young adults at a market of readers who are interested in these stories--stories with a certain genre commonality (makes for an inelegant tweet, I agree). Wonderful, couldn’t agree more. “About not for.” Blah, blah.
So why then is anyone still talking about “New Adult”? Doesn’t everything you’ve come to understand about the popularity of young adult tell you that making books for a demographic is madness?