The popularity of young adult (or YA) has exploded over the past ten years. A lot of it has to do with the success of Harry Potter (with is categorized as middle grade, but the second half of the series transitions to young adult), then Twilight, and now The Hunger Games. These books continue to propel the genre because they appeal to adults as well as to children and teens. They also seem to interest people who are not primarily diehard readers. Young adult has become the "it" genre to write and its sub-genres hit the market in waves. Young adult paranormal romance has been the hot sub-genre for the past five years with the market domination of Twilight, and young adult dystopian is now fast on its heels with The Hunger Games' growing popularity.
I became fascinated with young adult after reading the Harry Potter series, which I read consecutively in about three months. Then I branched out and haven't looked back. The best thing about books is that they take their readers on an adventure, to another place and time, creating great escapism entertainment. But what I love about young adult books even more is that their stories and adventures also have a wonderful nostalgic factor to them, which is something I don't think I would have appreciated ten years ago.
Now, I write young adult fiction--fantasy at the moment, but I'd like to try my hand at different sub-genres in the future--and the nostalgia is even greater during the story's creation. I enjoy writing from the perspective of a teenager, having my protagonist do and feel things I did and felt, as well as having him do things I would have loved to do and feel like I might have missed out on. It's like a fusion of entertainment and therapy--half joking. Many of us are still kids at heart and young adult fiction allows us to let that kid out to play for awhile amidst the excess work and responsibility of being an adult, out in the world and driven by an unrelenting force to conquer, contribute, and succeed. Young adult fiction takes us back to a romantic time when every day was a grand scale adventure on a small stage. I love young adult fiction--to read, to write...and to relive.