To my thinking, a major influence on this phenomena was the publication of the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. The Harry Potter series has become the bestselling book series in history. The books were well received by critics, hugely popular with young people, and made into blockbuster movies. Many parents like to read some of the same books as their children and then set aside a time for a family discussion. Adults became interested in what had so captivated their children and most loved the series as much as their kids did.
Another young adult series popular with both adults and teens is the Suzanne Collins Hunger Games series. The Katness Everdeen character is such a great role model for girls and I loved the movies. Along those same lines is the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, his classic fantasy series, was one of the first series to achieve popularity with both young people and adults. A series not well received by reviewers, but very popular with teens and adults, is the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer.
I have noticed an upsurge in local book clubs choosing to read young adult books. One very popular choice is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It was chosen by someone in my book club and all the members were impressed. It is a wonderful story of a young girl that takes place in Germany during World War Two. Another popular choice is The Fault Is In Our Stars by John Green. It is a story of two teenage cancer survivors but really is a celebration of life. All the books mentioned so far were also made into popular movies, which definitely helps propel book sales and makes them more appealing to kids. Some other juvenile books that could be appropriate for book club choices are: The Giver by Lois Lowry, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, A Separate Peace by John Knowles, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.
One other suggestion is to consider reading juvenile books written by your favorite adult writers. Another fairly recent trend is for well established authors of adult fiction to write the occasional children's book. As an avid mystery fan I can now read juvenile books written by my favorite writers in the mystery genre: Harlen Coben, Robert Parker, Ridley Pearson, Carl Hiaasen and David Baldacci have all written books for kids/teens. James Patterson has also written several series for young readers. Readers of historical and contemporary fiction such as Phillipa Gregory, Margaret Atwood, Isabel Allende , Alice Hoffman, Jane Smiley and Judy Blume can also check out their favorite author's offerings in the young adult category.
So to answer the question I posed at the beginning of this article, the answer is a resounding YES! Young adult books can make great summer escapism reading for you and it may be a good way to connect with your teenagers. My daughter has a tradition of reading books with her children and then watching the movies based on the books. The kids have always enjoyed knowing they were going to get to see a movie after the reading was done!
This process will help your kids develop an appreciation for literature, it will help you gain insight into how your children think, and it can open the door to some great conversations with your kids or grandchildren.