I've been discovering amazing new things about the publishing world these past few months, and I'm getting more and more envious of those who work at publishing companies especially for these reasons. Not only do they get to develop literature when it's still undercover from the public eye, they get advanced reader copies and they get to talk to the authors and meet with them and just be in their awesome presence. I mean, for a book lover, authors are pretty much top shelf celebrities. Movie stars are sub-par compared to authors, especially the authors who have written works that I love.
But what I'm coming to realize is, even though it's completely necessary for publishing companies to market certain books/novels to certain age groups, I always find myself amazed at what I actually read. I've read Jane Yolen past the age that was considered "appropriate" and I still believe some of her books were what truly got me into reading for REAL. Not just to get it over with, but because I enjoyed the characters development and I enjoyed being scared enough to sleep with the light on, even if it was just a chapter book.
Besides that one book that was written by a 12 year old about how to talk to girls, almost all literature/novels/books are written by adults. So there is always that underlying theme of adult entertainment. Now wait a minute, "adult entertainment" sounds raunchy and X rated. But what I mean is that just when you watch a movie when you're a child and then you grow up and happen to watch the movie again, things are different. You notice what the characters are really saying, and how their actions have consequences. For an author to write a story, for an ADULT to write a story targeted for a younger audience, there's always room for an older audience too. There's not one chapter book or young adult novel I've read that wasn't written by someone older than 16. Most YA novels star main characters around the age 15-18. But what most people don't truly think about is how the authors are anywhere from 16-50+. It's such a wild and vulnerable time in a persons life that I think most people are drawn to those years of adolescence because we're as impressionable as can be. But what I've learned is that I can appreciate these stories more as an older person, not too far off from the YA novel target age, but far enough that that time has passed for me, and I'm able to mourn for it just a little.
I used to be upset with authors when I was younger, because I thought, what do they think they know? They're not my age. But what I failed to understand is that in order to truly understand something, you have to have lived past it. I experimented with writing frequently when I was in high school, and while I felt that I had a voice and I wanted to be heard, I also knew that my credibility as a young adult was yet to be achieved. I had to grow out of that, "I write in my diary because I'm original" phase and move on with what was going on to appreciate what was actually going on during those years. I don't look back and think, my goodness, I was so lucky to have experienced a healthy and angsty teenage youth.
I'd like to say that I'm still coming to terms with the fact that my teen years were not the best I could have made them, but I tried, and that's the best that I could have done.