Forks isn’t the only place feeling love from older fans; the love for young adult fiction is soaring here in the Beehive State. “We think it’s being driven by adult women buying these books,” says Margaret Brennan Neville, children’s book buyer at The King’s English in SLC. “The ones I wonder about are the moms who say they are coming in to buy for their daughters.” She estimates about a fourth of those who buy young adult books, which target ages 12 and up, are typically older than 25. “They’re basically college age and up,” she notes. “And in Utah the sales are even higher for the Twilight series.”
The young adult category, which includes popular books like Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl’s Beautiful Creatures and Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars series, is the only one that had an uptick in sales over the last four and a half years. Twilight opened up the doors for other paranormal romances at the store, but Neville says the trend has already shifted toward dystopian futures and romances thanks to the wildly popular The Hunger Games.
But for local women, love of that genre doesn’t end with the books.
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Four of the top-grossing midnight screenings for The Hunger Games movie nationwide were at the Larry H. Miller Group Sandy Megaplex Theatres, which brought in more than $276,000 in sales. “We had close to 5,000 people here, filling every seat for the premiere,” says Julene Jolley, director of events for the theater. (Megaplex also ranked number one in ticket sales for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1.)
Aside from corporate buyouts of theaters, Jolley says Megaplex has a special way to get fans in the door, and ever since the first premiere event for the Twilight movie in 2008, she has noticed many of those fans are older than expected. “That first one was prom themed, and we got women of all ages,” she says. “Half of them were between 20 and 30 or older.”
Jolley and her co-worker Teresa Royce have even thought about starting a book club at the theater that will include novels written for the young adult and middle-grade audiences. “Those writers struck a chord, regardless of age,” Royce says. “Even my 86-year-old mother reads books for young adults.”
Megaplex by the Numbers
1st, 2nd & 3rd—Megaplex rankings for national ticket sales for opening night of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
4—Theaters that ranked in the national top 10 for the midnight premiere of The Hunger Games ticket sales
17,000—Seats filled at Megaplex locations for the opening night of Harry Potter an the Deathly Hallows: Part 2