Prepare yourself for the backlash now: Nielsen released its list of the top selling books of 2014, and young adult fiction hit 8 out of the 10 spots. With these numbers and some of the more detailed stats behind them, industry insiders have drawn the conclusion that (gasp!) the YA novels aren't just being bought by young adults themselves, but by some grown-up men and women who also enjoy reading them. (I'm raising my hand right now, but you can't see me.)
I'll give you three guesses as to which young adult novel topped the list of bestselling books of 2014, but you will only need one. Yes, of course: It's John Green's universally beloved The Fault in Our Stars . But "topped" the list doesn't even describe it — more like crushed, murdered, or lay the smack down to the list. In fact, it took up 3 of the 10 open slots, including No. 1, on the list by itself. Here's the entire top 10 list:
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Paperback)
- Divergent by Veronica Roth (Paperback)
- Insurgent by Veronica Roth (Paperback)
- Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Paperback)
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney (Hardcover)
- The Fault in Our Stars (Movie Tie-in, Paperback)
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Paperback)
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Hardcover)
- Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II's Most Audacious General by Bill O'Reilly (Hardcover)
- Looking for Alaska by John Green (Paperback)
I have so many thoughts tearing through my mind on this list that I'm going to need a list of my own to sort them:
- One of these things is not like the others... (Shh, it's No. 9!)
- John Green, with only two books, both more than two years old, has taken up four spaces on this list. Sheesh, let's give other writers a fighting chance, huh?
- The Fault in Our Stars also topped the list of Twitter's most talked about books, so chatter can definitely lead to purchasing recommendations.
- Clearly the movie adaptation game this year has trickled down into our buying and reading habits, with Divergent coming in at a strong second, and Gone Girl being the only adult fiction pick on the list despite being released more than a year ago.
- Looking for Alaska sneaking in at No. 10! With its own anniversary and movie adaptation coming up, look for that one to skyrocket this new year.
But with 2014 also being the year of writers shaming adults who are reading YA, this bestseller list news can't be happy news to everyone. You know him from Freaks and Geeks, but now Samm Levine is getting publicity for his comment to Vulture about what he thinks is the biggest cultural argument of 2014: adults reading YA.
"I'm horrified and aghast that it's so common," Levine said.
Aghast! And he's not alone.
And of course, there's Slate's Ruth Graham:
Read whatever you want. But you should feel embarrassed when what you’re reading was written for children.
But 2015 may be the year when the positive voices start to drown out the negative. A Publishers Weekly report on how 55% of YA books are bought by adults was met with loads of comments from adult YA readers, loud and proud. Even Meg Wolitzer stepped in to lend her support to grown-up YA readers. And rumor on the street is, we are the ones who saved the publishing industry in 2014 — which this Nielsen list seems to support. So keep reading what resonates with you, what you love, and soon we'll all be able to drown out the haters.