Saturday, April 28, 2012

"Y" is for Young Adult

The popularity of young adult (or YA) has exploded over the past ten years. A lot of it has to do with the success of Harry Potter (with is categorized as middle grade, but the second half of the series transitions to young adult), then Twilight, and now The Hunger Games. These books continue to propel the genre because they appeal to adults as well as to children and teens. They also seem to interest people who are not primarily diehard readers. Young adult has become the "it" genre to write and its sub-genres hit the market in waves. Young adult paranormal romance has been the hot sub-genre for the past five years with the market domination of Twilight, and young adult dystopian is now fast on its heels with The Hunger Games' growing popularity.

I became fascinated with young adult after reading the Harry Potter series, which I read consecutively in about three months. Then I branched out and haven't looked back. The best thing about books is that they take their readers on an adventure, to another place and time, creating great escapism entertainment. But what I love about young adult books even more is that their stories and adventures also have a wonderful nostalgic factor to them, which is something I don't think I would have appreciated ten years ago.

Now, I write young adult fiction--fantasy at the moment, but I'd like to try my hand at different sub-genres in the future--and the nostalgia is even greater during the story's creation. I enjoy writing from the perspective of a teenager, having my protagonist do and feel things I did and felt, as well as having him do things I would have loved to do and feel like I might have missed out on. It's like a fusion of entertainment and therapy--half joking. Many of us are still kids at heart and young adult fiction allows us to let that kid out to play for awhile amidst the excess work and responsibility of being an adult, out in the world and driven by an unrelenting force to conquer, contribute, and succeed. Young adult fiction takes us back to a romantic time when every day was a grand scale adventure on a small stage. I love young adult fiction--to read, to write...and to relive.  


  1. I haven't read many young adult books. Not even Harry Potter. (Yes, shocking I know.)

  2. I enjoy a few of the recent YA books, but usually I like MG or adult fiction more.

  3. My brother-in-law(40) read the Potter series at the same time as my oldest son(10), which I thought was awesome; listening to them discuss and predict was fun. :)

    I have yet to aboard the YA novel train(in writing), but I do have short stories(that's what I usually write) that may be considered YA. One where a young boy commits suicide, the main character being a helpless young girl. There are others and they are all healing for me and I'm in my thirties.

    As far as reading goes, I needed The Outsider's just as much as I needed A Tale of Two Cities. I still remember enjoying a tear after reading S. E. Hinton. :)

  4. I've read some YA, and often pick one to go with my other heavy reading.

  5. An excellent post Michael, seeing my granson growing into a young adult at an earlier age than I or his mother is quite something.


  6. Well said. Quite a few posts on YA but they were all different. I would love to write about being a teen and doing all the things I didn't do. I like that.
    1 more letter!

  7. i'm just not crazy about the whole sub-genre thing. My teenage children were avid readers of fantasy. They didn't limit themselves to YA. I think the extensive genre-specific categories out there now are too limiting. My genre is called women's fiction and I really don't like that because it sounds like "fiction for women" and what man would want to read that?

  8. Alex, the good thing with Harry Potter is that it's never too late.

    Nicole, I want to read more MG, the few I've read have been excellent and imaginative.

    Archna, The Outsiders and The Catcher in the Rye were defining books for me.

    Damyanti, there's so much good stuff out there, it's hard to choose.

    Yvonne, yeah, each generation seems to be growing up faster.

    Heather, we're almost there! I can see it now.

    Karen, I can appreciate that. It can be frustrating to be boxed into a genre or sub-genre.

  9. I didn't read young adult until Harry Potter either, in fact I avoided reading the Harry series for a few years because I had no interest in YA. Then once I started the series I couldn't stop reading! It's been fun to branch out, there are a lot of great YA books out there.


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