Here's the thing. Kids learn to read in stages. Avid readers start out reading really endless amounts of series and popular fiction. Think R.L. Stine and vampire books. Then they move on to slightly more sophisticated books--Danielle Steel and James Patterson, say. They usually keep some of these authors for relaxation but now, because they are able to process written language very efficiently, they can move on to complex fiction and non-fiction--the kinds of books snotty books reviewers (who were never children and came into the world full-fledged with an ability to enjoy John le Carre) recommend.
The Shades of Gray books, the dystopia YA fiction--all good! Readers are being developed. Maybe the extremely boring, tedious Common Core Standards won't sink literacy in this country after all. I'm starting to feel optimistic.