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The 'young adult' phenomenon

The Nielsen list of the top 20 best-selling books in the first half of this year is out.

And the news is that young adult books dominate the list, starting with "Divergent" by Veronica Roth and "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green. "Fault" is No. 2 in paperback, No. 5 in hard-cover and No. 6 in its movie tie-in version.

Roth's other two books, "Insurgent" and "Allegient" are at No. 3 and No. 4 respectively.

Five of the Top 20 are some version of "Frozen."

The highest ranking work of nonfiction was Sarah Young's "Jesus Calling." And the highest rank for a work of "serious" literature was No. 20 for the Pulitzer-Prize winning "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt.

So, it's tempting to jump to the conclusion that -- wow! -- those teens are just reading up a storm, aren't they?

Well, nobody really knows. But, we librarians do know that a whole lot of the people who have checked out "The Fault in Our Stars" were not young adults at all. They were folks who don't have to be carded when they buy cigarettes or booze.

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