Many adults wonder why other adults read Young Adult fiction or even middle grade fiction intended for much younger audiences. What about YA and MG fiction appeals to older audiences? There are several reasons how fiction that is targeted at younger readers can appeal to mature folks.
YA and MG Literature as Escapism
A 2012 survey showed that 55 percent of YA readers are adults. People have asked if this is a problem. The first point often brought up in regards to why YA literature is so popular among adults is how good YA books are at building fantastic and inventive worlds. The great imagination and fantasy often written into these YA books can really be appealing to anyone. Some argue, though, that for adults YA literature is a perfect source of escapism.
Years ago, it was pretty much taboo for adults to read children's literature unless they were reading it to other children. But children's classics such as the Chronicles of Narnia and more recently Harry Potter are today enjoyed by readers of all ages. Books have long served as a form of escapism, but people today are more open to appreciating inventive and imaginative literature no matter the intended audience.
YA and MG Literature as Nostalgia
The best YA and MG books are enjoyed generation after generation. Much adult literature doesn't hold the same universal appeal as the stories we enjoyed as kids. That is to say that if many adults are enjoying YA and MG books today, that actually does speak to how good they are as books.
While there is certainly adult literature that has aged well - such as Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park - that sparks the imagination, YA and MG fiction tends to age better and spark imaginations as a whole. So, it's not surprising to have adults want to revisit the books they enjoyed as a child. It's also not all that strange that some adults are curious to see if good YA and MG is being written today that they would've enjoyed. Many of them are parents, so that shouldn't be surprising.
In fact, the question we should probably be asking is why are more young people not reading? Also, then, how can adult fiction improve to make it more enticing to adult readers? In the end, it shouldn't be our place to judge what people want to read. Reading is good for our brains and our minds, no matter what it is we decide to pick up and read.