Newswise — If you look at the popular movies flooding theaters and you may notice many are based upon young adult (YA) novels — Catching Fire, Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars, and The Giver.

They are all gripping books that attract adults as well as teens. According to Barbara Bontempo, professor of English and English education at SUNY Buffalo State, adults now purchase 55 percent of YA literature. And they aren’t just buying them for the teens in their lives; they are reading the books, too.

Bontempo can speak to the many trends in YA literature, such as the continuing popularity of books and movies with dystopian themes.

“Teens know that life is tough. They can’t help but know the horrors happening around the world — they can see people being beheaded on Twitter. And solutions are not easy to come by.”

Realistic fiction, such as Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak about a young girl dealing with the aftermath of rape, and John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars featuring a romantic relationship between terminally ill teens, also captures readers of all ages.

“A lot of these YA authors are challenging their readers, not pandering to them,” she said. “They realize that teens are cognitively complex beings.”

About Barbara Bontempo: A full professor of English/English Education at Buffalo State, Bontempo received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2006. She has been involved in all aspects of middle school and high school teacher preparation at Buffalo State and has extensive experience in the supervision of student teachers, as well as in service-learning partnerships.

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