In the midst of all of the great YA and adult books I’ve been reading lately, for some reason, I’ve felt a nagging feeling that something was missing. Of course, I’m enjoying the books I’m reading, but I’ve been longing for a book that I can’t seem to find…a genre of books that I’m not even sure exists at the moment. And if it does, it’s certainly not getting the attention it deserves. Finally I figured it out. I want to read a book about someone who I can 100 percent relate to. I want to read a book about a girl in her 20’s trying to figure out where she fits in in the world. This got me thinking, where are all the books for twenty-somethings?
While I love YA books and adult books, I can’t help but feel like an entire demographic is missing. I’ve yet to come across a really great book about someone in their 20’s dealing with the issues twenty-somethings deal with; their first couple of years out of college, starting their first real jobs, finding an apartment, dealing with issues of drifting friendships, relationships starting to get serious…the list goes on and on.
Of course, I’m clearly sensitive to this issue since I am 23 years old. Smack in the middle of YA books and adult books. Not quite in high school anymore, but not quite ready to get married and have babies. In most of the books I’ve read lately, the characters are either in high school or are in their late 20’s, early 30’s or even 40’s. Where are the people in their 20’s? Hiding out until their 30’s?
Sometimes I wonder if YA is really the right classification for books that are written for this target demographic. Even though readers of all ages can enjoy YA novels, I’d almost go out on a limb to suggest that YA novels could be classified as teen novels. After all, according to the American Library Association, main characters in YA novels are ages 12-18. I hardly considered myself a young adult when I was between the ages of 12-12. In fact, I probably didn’t consider myself a young adult until I hit 20 or 21.
However, the name of the genre isn’t the problem. The genre doesn’t need a proper name because in my opinion, it doesn’t currently exist. I can name exactly ONE book that I’ve read where the main character was a college student (and I won’t even name the book because I couldn’t finish it). This is a problem. Many of us turn to books because we’re looking to relate to someone, anyone, who we can relate to. An entire group of people (a group notoriously in the news for never wanting to grow up) is being neglected. We could probably benefit from books about people like us.
Of course, I selfishly hope for books for twenty-somethings to benefit me and my fellow twenty-somethings, but also, I think there’s a huge opportunity for publishing companies and authors to reach a new target audience. A target audience who likely has time to read for pleasure and money to spend on books! When I was in college, I definitely read for pleasure, but I find myself reading way more now that I don’t have required reading for school or textbooks to sift through each night. I also find many of my friends asking me for more book recommendations now than when we were in college. It could be a great opportunity to invest in a different audience with unique interests, goals and personalities.
What do you think? Where are all the books for twenty-somethings? Would you be interested in reading books about people in their 20’s?