Adi Alsaid on adults reading young adult books at Decatur Book Festival

This past weekend, I went to the Decatur Book Festival in Decatur, Georgia and met several celebrities of my favorite authors.

Map of My Heart PanelI attended several panels over Saturday and Sunday. Since finding out about the festival, I’d been looking forward to the “Map of My Heart: Love Stories” panel featuring Isabel Gillies, Stephanie Perkins, Adi Alsaid, and Jennifer E. Smith. They didn’t end up talking too much about travel or the places in their books, but they did get asked probably my favorite question and answer of the festival:

Elizabeth Lenhard, moderator: Are you thinking about your teen readers? Or are you thinking of everyone? Or are you thinking of these adult readers out there, and does that affect how you’re writing at all?

Adi Alsaid: [after some other stuff] I never heard of people asking young adults why they would read an adult book when the character’s not a young adult. I don’t think that really matters, as a reader. I think we just want to connect with a story and a character, and it almost always is someone unlike ourselves, so why would the age matter?”

As an adult reader of a lot of young adult literature, I really loved this answer. I felt like a lot of my followers would relate to it just as much as I did so I wanted to share. I loved what he said: young adults aren’t asked why they read adult fiction; why should adults be asked why they read young adult fiction? We just want a good story to connect to.

What do you think? Do you like Adi’s response? Adi wrote Let’s Get Lost, which I reviewed on my blog HERE. Also, check out my wrap up post of the whole Decatur Book Festival over on WatchPlayRead.

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7 thoughts on “Adi Alsaid on adults reading young adult books at Decatur Book Festival

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  4. Great post! The YA distinction is relatively new in literature (1960s) and was created to appeal to teens who felt under represented in literature. It wasn’t intended to shame adults who enjoy reading coming of age stories. Would an adult feel ashamed to read Oliver Twist, Jane Eyre, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, or Catcher in the Rye? Every one of those books would be marketed as YA if they were published today.

    • What you said exactly! I was just telling my dad yesterday about that – how if a lot of our classics were published today they would be marketed as YA. I don’t understand why an adult who reads young adult books should feel ashamed of that. Read what you love to read, no matter what it is.

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