Many high school students feel like they cannot find the right book to read. Young adult books seem to bore them, but they think that adult books will be too unrelatable or too difficult. I was in this same situation for a long time, until I was told to give adult novels a try, and I have not regretted it since.
There are certain differences in adult novels that make them more attractive than young adult novels to certain readers. For example, the language is usually more mature, however, that does not necessarily mean that it is more difficult to read. In fact, it can make it more interesting. The more mature language allows the reader to really get into the story without being distracted by details that were obviously written to make the story child-friendly. It makes the reader feel less like he or she is being spoken down to. More mature and descriptive language also allows readers to really see what is going on, rather than to just understand it. One of my favorite authors, Anne Rice, uses very mature, descriptive language to the point where her readers can recognize the historical structures and places described in her stories. This is rarely the case in young adult novels.
In addition, adult novels tend to have a much more developed story. In a lot of teen novels, maturing readers are left wondering what the purpose of the story is. They feel that the plot is underdeveloped, and that they expected more from it. It is never a good sign if the reader’s reaction to a book is “Why did I just read that?” or “So…what was that about?” Adult novels usually leave the reader with a full story that has a clear purpose. The reaction may be more of an “Oh! I get it now!” or “It’s over already? But I want more!”
Along the same lines, another clear benefit of reading adult novels is the level of vocabulary. Since I’ve started reading adult novels, I feel that the vocabulary I use in my own writing has improved tremendously. The SAT words I am studying sound familiar, and I often amuse my friends with my pedantic tendencies and linguistic dexterity; all knowledge obtained from immersing my mind in the formidable world of adult reading. Not to mention my resulting title of the Queen of Useless Information.
Of course, everything depends on the author. Certain young adult authors write extremely well, creating stories that leave the reader surprised (pleasantly, of course) and excited at every turn, aching for more at the end. One of my favorite series was actually written for children, but it was so well written and unpredictable that even my mom enjoyed it. A famous series of books about a boy wizard and his friends was intended for children, yet Harry Potter is a favorite of many teenagers and adults. And then there are adult authors who seem to have not found their own style yet, and their stories leave the reader confused, or even bored. The resolution can be predicted from the first chapter, as has been the case with many books I have been assigned to read for school (but will not name because I had to read them for school). And the genre the reader typically enjoys will play a big role as well. Someone who despises fantasy will probably never enjoy a fantasy novel, whether teen or adult.
Whether or not a person should start reading adult novels or stick to teen ones for a while ultimately boils down to that person’s maturity and reading level. But chances are, if that person consistently finds him or herself bored with every young adult novel they read and just want something more, it is probably time for him or her to move on to adult novels. For me personally, once I switched to adult novels, I was hooked. There was no turning back.
For those willing to make the leap, some of my favorite adult authors include Tess Gerritsen, Anne Rice, and Diana Gabaldon (note that some of their novels contain explicit content). For those who feel they are not quite ready, Justin Somper’s Vampirates series is the one mentioned earlier. I also recommend his new series, Allies and Assassins.