CEO(s) and CCO(s) read the Harry Potter Series. Housewives and Social Workers read the Twilight Series. Lawyers and Travel Agents read the Mortal Instruments Series. Why are so many “adults” reading “Young Adult” fiction?
If adult is defined as thirty years of age and older, then for most adults, the mundane has become daunting. Day after day, our lives are consumed with either finding a job or keeping a job. We count the years between now and retirement, where hopefully we can enjoy the money that we have spent forty to fifty years squirreling away. Increasingly, more of us have parents and grandparents that we must take care of because they may be sick, in need of daily care or alone. Our lives are absorbed in making compromises, in our business meetings, during projects, and through our relationships with loved ones and friends. We accommodate ourselves to the point of having no irrefutable definitions.
The social mediums bombard us daily with the conflicting certainties. Religion tells us that god is an omnipotent humanlike being that passes judgment on our daily activities. Science says that god does not exist. Religion tells us that killing another person is wrong. Our government maintains that we must kill other people to preserve our way of life. Science says that we have an obligation to explore every nook and cranny of the physical world around us and use what we learn to make life better for ourselves. Religion encourages us to enjoy the mysteries of the world. Government claims to be uninfluenced by religion. Religions have lobbyists, compromising with congressmen and senators, and spending millions of dollars to influence public voting.
As adults, we are like glass in the ocean. The waves of the mundane and the conflicting certainties rake us back and forth until our rough edges have been smoothed into a polished uniformity. The monotony creates a craving for some absolutes and passion. Young Adult fiction provides both. We follow Harry Potter raptly, because he opposes Lord Voldemort and his tactics of precision targets and genocide fervidly. We believe that Harry is good and Lord Voldemort is evil. Twilight provides for us an absolutism of love and forgiveness. We want Bella and Edward to marry, because love must conquer all opposition. We need Bella to forgive Edward for his trespasses, including his prior feeding on humans and his overbearing protectiveness, because we need forgiveness for our trespasses. The Mortal Instrument series provides a look at older issues that may need exploration, such as Segregation and Cooperative Effort. Clary and Jace have opposing views on Downworlders. Jace believes that downworlders are subhuman. Clary believes that downworlders are people. In the end, Shadowhunters and Downworlders must come together to resist Valentine and his army of demons.
Adults have forgotten the passions evoked by the absolutes that we believed in so intensely as teenagers. Teenagers have not been worn down as we have, so the world can be black and white for them. In contrast, to get by in our reality, adults must maintain a world of gray.