Since one of my challenges for this year is to read 10 Adult Fiction books, and I recently posted my review of the first of those ten (Gone Girl, if you missed it), I thought looking at the difference between Adult and Young Adults – for me, at least – would be a great topic for today’s discussion post.
I always read adult books at a slower pace than normal, but since those were books assigned for school, it was hard to judge based on them. After reading two more adult books, on my own, it seems like a pattern, though. So that’s:
Difference #1: Pacing
Well, I don’t know if it’s this way for everyone, but for me certainly, the pacing in Adult and YA books seem to be different. Some YA books also take longer to read, and it’s hard to really judge based on just two Adult books, but considering one was a contemporary look at small town life (The Casual Vacancy) and a missing person mystery (Gone Girl), two different genres that still had the same slower pace, I feel mostly safe making this assumption.
Now, this isn’t a bad thing. Sure, it’s nice when the pages just fly by as you wait to see what’s going to happen, but that doesn’t mean the Adult books are slow and boring. I like the change of pace – I’m often flying through the pages like with any YA book, despite the slower pace.
Difference #2: Sex
I feel like this might be obvious to some people, but I have to admit that I was surprised with the way Adult books look at sex. I mean, the two books I read had some kind of explicit stuff, much more that a YA book would have had. Since neither were romances, I was weirdly surprised.
Not much more to say about this. I’m sure that if I ever try straight-on romance, I’ll be surprised all over again even though I really shouldn’t be.
Difference #3: Themes
The reason so many non-YA readers read YA is because they love reading about all the transitions and changes that the protagonists go through. Of course, those changes and overall themes aren’t really going to be the same in an Adult book. Most Adult books should be after the difficult transitions of high school and college (I think real NA should involve the latter, but unfortunately it doesn’t always seem that way), so they’ll have different themes. YA books seem to focus on new starts and transitions, but Adult books seem to be more about the end, the mess at the end of a relationship or a job or whatever – and then the end seems to be the beginning of a transition.
I’m much more able to relate with YA characters, while Adult characters seem so far away from who I am – although with each passing day, I suppose I get closer to them. Right now, though, the themes and the characters seem more… fictional, I guess. Even in realistic books, they seem further removed from where I am, so Adult is more of an escape, although much less of a fluffy one than cute, fluffy YA books give me.
I don’t know if this is coherent at all, but I just wanted to look at some of the differences between these two categories (genres? I don’t know what to call it) for me. I’m curious to see what’ll change or be further proven as I read more Adult books. Only time will tell…