Adult readers can read whatever the fuck they want.

I see there’s another click-bait piece at Snarky Grown-Up Media Website deriding adults who enjoy Young Adult novels. WATCH ME NOT CLICK THAT LINK, MUTHAFUCKAS. No, I haven’t read the article. When you put “shame” in the title, I know it’s nothing I haven’t seen already.

I haven’t read The Fault In Our Stars. I haven’t read Divergent, either. I only read The Hunger Games to spite all those racist assholes who couldn’t handle seeing black characters cast with black actors. I loves me some Harry Potter, however. I’m a novelist who writes fiction aimed at grown-ups, and guess what? Readers don’t have to apologize for their taste in books.

If a lot of adults are reading fiction marketed to teenagers, and not so much fiction marketed to adults, then perhaps it’s because the Young Adult stuff meets some needs that Adult stuff neglects. That it’s accessible to high school kids doesn’t make it any less fulfilling.

Somehow, I don’t think the Grown-Up Literary Snobs are interested in, say, understanding what it is about stories like The Fault In Our Stars that gets so many adult readers on board. I don’t think they’re interested in encouraging authors to write mature fiction that hits the right buttons the way best-selling YA fiction does now. I don’t think they’re interested in figuring out whether publishers could learn something from the success of some YA fiction and apply those lessons to the way they market adult fiction. They’re interested in defining themselves as the Supreme Arbiters of Literary Merit.

You want to tell us how much smarter and more sophisticated you are because you only read books that younger people aren’t expected to enjoy? You can stand up there on that pedestal and pat yourself on the back. I’ve had too much fun making new friends through Harry Potter.

Joel Stein crapped my bed.

I see what you did there, NYT. Joel Stein offered you a chance to troll for page-hits from angry YA fans, and you were only too happy to have their wrath in the comment box. What does Mr. Stein have to say?

I have no idea what “The Hunger Games” is like. Maybe there are complicated shades of good and evil in each character. Maybe there are Pynchonesque turns of phrase. Maybe it delves into issues of identity, self-justification and anomie that would make David Foster Wallace proud. I don’t know because it’s a book for kids. I’ll read “The Hunger Games” when I finish the previous 3,000 years of fiction written for adults.

Oh, for fuck’s sake.

There is no coherent position here. There is no positive defense of the pleasures of reading fiction geared to adult sensibilities. There is not even an honest distinction between children’s books and YA fiction. There’s a reason why they call it “Young Adult,” Joel. It’s closer to books for adults than books for little kids. No, Joel Stein does not tell us WHY adults should read adult books, he just looks at Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games (as if they’re interchangeable) and says, “Ew.” He made this non-argument, and the New York Times gave him a platform. Great going, NYT. This is exactly the kind of example we need to have set by the elite mainstream media.

(I’ll pause here for a moment to vacuum the sarcasm out of my keyboard.)

Looking down one's nose is not an insight.

As a writer of grown-up fiction, the last thing I need is someone like Joel Stein on my side. This kind of looking-down-nose sneering isn’t going to make adult enthusiasts of YA fiction any less invested in their love of books geared to teens. It’s not going to make readers any more interested in books for adults. It’s certainly not going to make grown-up novels any more attractive to people who currently don’t read books for pleasure. If he wants to make YA enthusiasts even more uninterested in adult fiction, he’s doing a bang-up job. If the goal here is to make adult lit fic seem even more the bastion of unthinking snobs, then mission accomplished, but as someone who has written, continues to write and is trying to sell adult fiction, I would like to buy Joel Stein a ladder so he can get over himself.

If you’re not interested in reading The Hunger Games, then…don’t read The Hunger Games. When you compare it to Horton Hatches the Egg, however, you look like someone who could have taken a few more Literature credits in college.