YA Authors Crossing Over Into Adult Fiction

I’ve noticed lately that the line between YA and Adult fiction seems blurrier than ever. YA fiction has become insanely popular with adults thanks to books like Harry Potter and Twilight, and authors like James Patterson, John Grisham, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Kim Harrison have started writing books for the younger crowd. But that’s old news. What I’m talking about is YA authors writing books for an older—but not quite adult—audience. I call them Almost Adult books (the correct term might be crossover, but whatever, I think AA has a nice ring to it).

Maybe this isn’t a huge trend, but the last two books I’ve read have fallen into the Almost Adult category, so it’s something I’ve been thinking about. First, I happened to read My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares, author of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series (read my full review). It’s her second adult novel after The Last Summer (of You and Me). Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED My Name is Memory, but “adult” is a bit of a stretch. It’s not written at a level I would normally expect from an adult novel, yet, with some mild sex scenes and a few F-bombs, it’s not quite YA either. The main characters in the book go from high school seniors to college graduates, and I think that’s probably also the age range for the book’s audience.

Right after finishing My Name is Memory, I picked up Insatiable by Meg Cabot, who is best known for The Princess Diaries series. Here the characters are a little bit older—twenties and thirties—and there are a few vampires thrown into the mix. It’s not Cabot’s first adult novel, but it’s her first paranormal romance and she even name drops Sookie Stackhouse, queen of paranormal lit. I thoroughly enjoyed Insatiable (she even made lead character Meena Harper a feminist—rock on!), although, like My Name is Memory, it doesn’t have the complexity you would expect of an adult novel. It’s hard to imagine it competing in the paranormal romance genre against authors like JR Ward and Charlaine Harris.

But maybe Cabot and Brashares aren’t trying to compete with other adult authors so much as they’re trying to grow with their maturing audiences. Girls that first read The Princess Diaries or Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants when they were younger are now probably college-age and looking for more adult books. Plus, I imagine writing an Almost Adult book also gives the author the freedom to throw in some sexiness and language that would be frowned upon in a YA book.

I’m not saying Almost Adult books are a bad thing—just a buyer beware type of situation. If, say, you just came across My Name is Memory or Insatiable in the adult section of the bookstore and purchased them without knowing much about them, you might be a little disappointed. But, hey, that’s why you should do your research and read book reviews, right?

So have you noticed that more authors are blurring the lines between YA and Adult fiction? Who are some other YA authors who have crossed over into Adult Fiction?

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