According to the oh so reliable source Wikipedia, Young Adult books are written for a specific audience of readers.....
Young-adult fiction or young adult literature, often termed as YA, is fiction written, published, or marketed to adolescents and young adults. The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) of the American Library Association (ALA) defines a young adult as someone between the ages of twelve and eighteen. Authors and readers of young adult (YA) novels often define the category as literature traditionally written for ages ranging from sixteen years to the age of twenty-five
At the ripe age of 29, I do not fit into the target audience for YA books. HOWEVER, I must admit YA might be my favorite. As a child, I was not a reader. I loved to hear my teachers read aloud to me but I did not read on my own. Into middle/high school I enjoyed reading even less. All I remember is being forced to read books that I was not interested it at all. Any hope of becoming a reader was crushed because of this. Even through college, I read whatever I needed to get by for my classes. I didn't read for pleasure.
In 2008, at the age of 23, one of my dear friends wanted me to read Twilight so I could then go see the movie with her. I could not have been more disgusted by the thought of vampires and ware wolfs. I was not interested at all but finally after a few days of pestering I gave in. She loaned me the books and I had the whole series finished in about 2 weeks. As embarrassing as it is to think about, Edward and Bella made me a reader. I was captivated by their story and since then many more stories along the way. When I think about my reading history YA comes to mind...
Hunger Games Series
The Fault In Our Stars
The Spectacular Now
Looking for Alaska
The Night Circus
And the list goes on. ALL YA! (If you can't tell, I'm a huge fan of books turned into movies)
It makes me sad to think I didn't truly become a reader until the age of 23. I think about all of the fun and learning I have missed out on in my younger days. It also makes the realize the importance of helping my 3rd graders have a desire to read for pleasure. I want to be able to get them hooked now so they don't have to miss out on years of reading like me.
So, thank you YA authors. Keep doing what you are doing!