Adults ask me this question all the time: “Your book is for teens. Will I like it, or is it too dumbed down?”
It’s true, THE 57 LIVES OF ALEX WAYFARE is classified as a young adult novel. But what makes a book “young adult?” All that means is that the main protagonist of the novel is a teenager. It doesn’t mean the *readers* have to be teenagers.
Yes, adults can thoroughly enjoy young adult novels. Some of my favorites you may have read? STAND BY ME by Stephen King, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee, and LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding, just to name a few.
The only thing that makes a book “young adult” is that the main character is at the cusp of adulthood. That’s the only factor.
What about content?
YA novels have just as much violence, swearing, and sex as adult novels. Content isn’t restricted in YA books, although some do have more than others. A book that is considered appropriate for ages 12 and up will have less strong content than a book labeled for ages 14 and up, or 16 and up. The emphasis is on the “and up.” That part is important. It means the book is for everyone above this age group, ages 12 to infinity.
As for literary merit, young adult novels are comparable to adult novels in every way. And just like the adult novels you read, there will always be a YA book you don’t connect with in one way or another, either because of the author’s particular writing style or because you just don’t like the plot. This goes for *all* books, so keep trying if the first YA book you pick up isn’t your thing. Imagine giving up adult books simply because the first one you read didn’t interest you. Same goes for young adult. There are so many amazing, life-changing novels in this genre, beautiful and lyrical historicals like THE BOOK THEIF by markuszusakbooks and CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein, there are fun romances like ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins, and hilarious sci-fi like HOURGLASS by myramcentire, there are epic adventures like DEFIANCE by cjredwine and ROOTLESS by chrishowardbooks there are creepy paranormal thrillers like BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA by apriltucholke, there are eye-opening contemporaries like FAKING NORMAL by courtneycstevens. Books that will make your jaw drop, make you weep, make your heart race.
So, to answer the question, no, my books are not dumbed down, nor are any other YA books on the market. Will you like ALEX WAYFARE? That depends on whether or not time travel is your cup of tea, but I can tell you that I’ve been contacted by more adult fans than teen fans.
That should tell you something.
And hey, if you pick up a YA novel for the first time because of this post, let me know about it!