When YA characters grow up and you gotta shelve ’em somewhere

Super articulate post title, I know.

As you’re probably aware, two very popular young adult series are getting a major epilogue treatment.  Both the Wakefield twins and the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants gals have returned/are returning as adults in new books – and I’ve really been struggling with where to shelve these ladies.  With the adult fiction?  The YA fiction?  The Gimmick Aisle? (we don’t have one of those at my library, but I wish we did).  After puzzling and puzzling until my puzzler was sore, I came up with two very different solutions.

Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later

Shelved as Adult Fiction

Rationale

First let me tell you that this book is unforgivably bad.  I have seriously worked with eleven-year-old ESL children who have mastered grammar and syntax better than Ms. Pascal.  I generally don’t use this blog as a forum to pan books, but I’m still angry that I read this thing.  Today I even apologized to our Adult Services Librarian for spending $10 of her budget on this sentinel of hell.  But I digress.  Here are my reasons for putting it with the adult books.

  • We don’t have any Sweet Valley High books at my library.  This may change when the movie comes out, especially since Diablo Cody is keeping it in the eighties and teens may want to pick up the original books (though they would have to be the true originals without the new millennium updates that came out a few years ago).  But since we don’t currently have any of the SVH books, I don’t think it makes sense to stick Sweet Valley Confidential all alone in YA.  There’s no context.
  • I might be wrong, but I think the vast majority of people who want to read this book are my age: 25-35 year olds who are picking it up for the nostalgia factor.  At least two dozen people on Goodreads have mentioned this, and they ain’t spring chickens.  Disclaimer: I am at the BOTTOM of that 25-35 year old age range.  And I was born three weeks early, so that gives me an unfair disadvantage.
  • Perhaps the most obvious reason, this book was published by St. Martin’s Press – not a YA/children’s publisher.
  • I don’t want it stinking up the YA section. HA!  But seriously…

You’d think I’d do the same thing with the new Traveling Pants book, hey?  Nope.

Sisterhood Everlasting

Will be Shelved as Young Adult Fiction (I think)

Rationale

First I have to say that this book doesn’t come out until June and I purposely haven’t read any reviews.  I want to experience the book completely blind; I listened to all four books on audiobook last year, am sort of a fan, and would like to be surprised at what happens.

  • Unlike Sweet Valley High, there are teens still actively checking out the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series from my library.  There is a perfect little spot next to those in the YA section for the new book.
  • I don’t think there’s really been time for much Pants nostalgia to set in yet. The first Pants book only came out eight years ago.  SVH was around thirty years ago.   Therefore I’m not sure any adult over 22 years old would really recognize the characters in the adult section.

Of course, I won’t really know until I read the book.  I’ll be more than happy to re-class it if the themes are really adult, and/or if I think it can stand on its own legs in the adult section without the context of the other four books.

If anyone has any opinions (without providing any spoilers or even basic plot information for Sisterhood Everlasting) I’m all ears.  I would also like to take this opportunity to say that if, in 2025, there is a new adult book entitled Geronimo Stilton: Whiskers of Truth detailing his sexual betrayals and new “adult” life in New York City, I will write another post about my shelving decision.


3 thoughts on “When YA characters grow up and you gotta shelve ’em somewhere”

  1. Interesting post, Shannon. When the first SVH books were published Francine Pascal was a pseudonym for a stable of writers who churned these out ala Stratemeyer. (I know one who is a wonderful writer on her own today, but I can’t speak to the rest of the crew.) So perhaps that explains your reaction to the adult SV–maybe it’s still being created by a committee?

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  2. I can’t wait for your Geronimo Stilton review! Anyway, I am still struggling and today is the day…where do I put the Sisterhood book? I will read it if I must, but I, (on the high side of the 25-35 age scale) did not enjoy the books so much.

    As for Sweet Valley, it is in the YA section along with SVH, SVU, and Fearless…all products of the Pascal stable.

    Share your thoughts, I have read all of the spoilers, I just want to know whether it belongs in YA or Adult or both.

    Patty:)

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  3. Thanks Patty. Alas, I have book review do reading for the next two weeks so I am going to save Sisterhood Everlasting until a late July vacation. But I promise to follow up!

    Kay – we need to meet for tea so you can give me the scoop. I missed this comment originally!

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