With 2015 drawing to a close, we thought we’d take a few minutes to look at what is, by far, the hottest teen series of the year.
This trilogy took the world by storm almost as soon as the first novel debuted back in the summer of 2011. Four years later, we’ve seen the release of the other two books in the series, and the first book developed into a movie, with two more already in production.
What is this series, you ask?
Yup, you guessed it: Fifty Shades of Grey.
Why Fifty Shades of Grey is Popular
With all of the hype, we wanted to take a step back and look at a few the reasons Fifty Shades of Grey became an overnight sensation that has lasted for 4 years now!
There’s a few ways to look at this question. For starters, let’s think about recent trends. The Fifty Shades series capitalizes on a growing trend among teens to look for alternative fiction. This is the “bad boy” genre, and by far the other most notable example was the incredible and enduring popularity of the Twilight series, which showed the dark side of love and lust mixed into the fantastical world of vampires and werewolves.
While Fifty Shades doesn’t have any of the fantasy creatures in it, it certainly appeals to the same emotional tone evoked by Twilight and other novels of the genre.
The question then becomes, why is this genre popular? Who really wants to read a novel that depicts sado-masochistic tendencies in horrible detail, with rape, love, and lust all tied together into what is, supposedly, a romantic drama and not a horror story?
Could it be a cry among teens to pull away from the establishment and rebel against their parents and society? Could it be a cry for help among a generation that feels lost and unable to take control of their own destinies, whether in a relationship or otherwise?
This is a big question, and one that unfortunately we cannot answer here.
Instead, we just want to point out that perhaps we should be thinking a little more carefully not just about the books teens are reading, but why they’re reading them, and what their choices might mean for us a society.