Recently I’ve come across a couple of surveys on young adult reading. The first–a yearly online poll conducted by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)–named the respondents’ choices for top ten books of the previous year. According to the YALSA website, “more than 11,000 teen voters chose Paper Towns as their favorite book in the 2009 Teens’ Top Ten.” (See illustration)
What first struck me as I looked over this list was that I’d only read three of these books, and those were all fantasy. The next thing I noticed is that none of the top ten are historical fiction. Sad, but true. I believe the breakdown to be: three contemporary; three fantasy; and four paranormal. Now, there’s nothing wrong with this. It’s common knowledge that fantasy/science fiction/paranormal are among the biggest sellers in YA fiction. I enjoy them as well. But it made me curious about what proportion of teens read other genres.
That lead me to the Publishers Weekly article by Carol Fitzgerald, “What Do Teens Want?” They conducted a survey through Teenreads.com to find out more about the teen demographic of book buyers. The survey results include information on what teens read, book-buying habits, where they shop, and what influences them to read a particular book. As one would expect, there’s a lot of data here. Among all the numbers are these statistics–87 percent read fiction and 42 percent read historical fiction.
Of course, this is no surprise. The types of books young adults like to read go through phases or cycles. And who knows? Historical fiction may be wildly popular in a few years. For now, though, it seems a good idea to make our historical fiction, or historical fantasy in my case, as relatable to today’s kids as possible. Check back here on Thursday for Emilie’s post on that very topic.
And now off to read something from the Teens’ Top Ten list.