Millennial Readers: An Analysis of Young Adult Escapism
[Introduction]: "The emphasis on the generational identity of American millennials and their portrayal in the current cultural landscape of the twenty-first century furthers the idea that millennials are exhibiting escapist tendencies by engaging themselves as a majority (fifty-five percent) of young adult readership (“New Study”). Born within 1981 and 1996, millennials (also known as Generation Y) are defined, as those that are—for reasons such as student debt, cost of living, and the financial crisis—delaying typical milestones of adulthood like obtaining a degree, securing a career, purchasing a house, and starting a family. This examination of the social and cultural factors that have affected twenty-first century American society exposes how authors have navigated a world increasingly defined by evolving identity, displacement, discrimination, and a generational lack of agency for the age-diverse young adult market. These themes—including Black Lives Matter, socio-economic hardships, and totalitarian power—have been written with younger audiences in mind, as authors attempt to mimic societal pitfalls within literature in an approachable narrative. The regression of adulthood and millennial priorities have evolved the young adult genre over the last twenty years (since the first millennials became adults), and as a result, they have generationally transitioned into a redefined version of adulthood that requires an escapist outlet."