The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Celia Goodnow checks in on one of the happier publishing trends, where teens are buying books in numbers not seen in decades. "Kids are buying books in quantities we've never seen before," said Booklist magazine critic Michael Cart, a leading authority on young adult literature. "And publishers are courting young adults in ways we haven't seen since the 1940s." Credit a bulging teen population, a surge of global talent and perhaps a bit of Harry Potter afterglow as the preteen Muggles of yesteryear carry an ingrained reading habit into later adolescence.
Fantasy and graphic novels are especially hot, Goodnow discovers, and adventure, romance, humor and gritty coming-of-age tales remain perennial favorites. In addition, racy series such as GOSSIP GIRL -- often likened to a teen "Sex and the City" -- have created a buzz. More notably, though, there's a new strain of sophistication and literary heft as publishers cater to the older end of the spectrum with books that straddle teen and adult markets. Teens' increased disposable income is a big factor, too, leading to more sales, more choice and better quality. In other words, for those who might overlook YA fiction because it's ostensibly written for kids, you'd be doing a serious disservice - there's lots of good stuff out there, just waiting to be found.