It's a time of strong writing and strong sales as readers in the 12-to-18 age group rock the marketplace.
"Kids are buying books in quantities we've never seen before," said Booklist magazine critic Michael Cart, a leading authority on young adult literature. "And publishers are courting young adults in ways we haven't seen since the 1940s."
Credit a bulging teen population, a surge of global talent and perhaps a bit of Harry Potter afterglow as the preteen Muggles of yesteryear carry an ingrained reading habit into later adolescence.
Not only are teen book sales booming -- up by a quarter between 1999 and 2005, by one industry analysis -- but the quality is soaring as well. Older teens in particular are enjoying a surge of sophisticated fare as young adult literature becomes a global phenomenon.
That's very good news for society and for the publishing industry. And for romance writers, too:
Fantasy and graphic novels are especially hot, and adventure, romance, humor and gritty coming-of-age tales remain perennial favorites.
There are a lot more kids in this new generation than I realized:
There are many reasons for the turnaround, not least the sheer size of the teen population -- well over 30 million kids with ready cash in their pockets. Called Gen Y or Millennials, they trail only the baby boomers in number.
"The publishing world has recognized that teens have a lot of disposable income, and they're willing to spend it," Nelson said. "They buy books. They (especially) buy paperbacks."
Excellent. I think I'll go write one.