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What are YA books? And who is reading them?

After the costume-crowded overexcitement of the first ever Young Adult Literature Convention , brainchild of current children's laureate Malorie Blackman , many authors, readers and bloggers have been mulling over what exactly it is that makes a book YA. Is "YA" the same as "teen", and who is it read by? What are its requirements and restrictions? And what about "New Adult"?

In the past, I've used the labels "teen" and "YA" interchangeably, but a quick straw poll of aficionados reveals two differing standpoints. Some feel they basically cover the same ground, and others think that while both refer to age categories "teen" covers 12-14, and "YA" is aimed at about 14+. For the latter, the later Harry Potter books, in which torture and murder come to the fore after the gentler series beginnings, would count as "teen". YA, meanwhile, is more likely to deal frankly with sex, tackle challenging issues and adult relationships, and feature swearing. Andrew Smith's Grasshopper Jungle , for instance, a genre-melting account of perpetual adolescent horniness against a backdrop of mutated, man-eating human locusts, pulls no punches in its frank examination of teen lust, expressed throughout in pungent and profane language. However, the acceptability of the F-word varies widely from publisher to publisher, and its inclusion may mean a book falls foul of gatekeepers or won't be stocked by school libraries, limiting its potential readership. (This can be frustrating for YA authors, who feel that, as teenagers habitually swear, trying to create convincing voices for them without using anything stronger than "flip" can strain credibility – and seem, in a world full of sweary films, telly and video games, futile.

"New Adult", meanwhile, features college- rather than school-aged characters and plotlines; ostensibly the next age-category up from YA. As Non Pratt put it pithily at YALC, however, it can frequently be categorised as "YA with sexytimes", especially in the wake of Fifty Shades of Grey and its student protagonist, Anastasia Steele. Many NA books focus unashamedly on sex, blurring the boundary between romance and erotica – but some do explore the challenges and uncertainties of leaving home and living independently for the first time. Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl , for instance, is a comparatively "clean read", but delves deeply into the anxieties of Cath, its introverted main character, trying to map out her boundaries in the frightening new context of college.

YA definitely doesn't mean a solely young adult readership, unless we elide (or are charitable about) the "young". At YALC, Meg Rosoff revealed that 55% of YA titles are bought by adults. Presumably, some of these are gifts for teenagers, but casting an eye down the average Tube carriage reveals YA titles aplenty, read with absorption by those who won't see 15 again. The "crossover" phenomenon incenses clickbaiters with nothing better to worry about , and induces much taking up the cudgels on YA's behalf in return. Of course there's plenty of bad young adult fiction out there – formulaic, unchallenging – but there's plenty of bad grown-up fiction too, and no one is lumping together the whole body of books marketed to adults to dismiss it as pointless, probably female-authored, escapist tripe. ( Nick Lake , defending Twilight at YALC, remarked that successful YA books written by women tend to draw opprobrium in a way that men's work doesn't.)

Writers across the board at YALC agreed that the sine qua non of YA is an adolescent protagonist, who will probably face significant difficulties and crises, and grow and develop to some degree – Patrick Ness described it as "finding boundaries and crossing them and figuring out when you end, who you are and what shape you are." According to Matt Haig , YA is also remarkable for "blurring the boundaries" of genre and refusing to adhere to the rules of more rigidly defined literary fiction. There are YA "books that end on a hopeful note, books that end on a happy note and books that don't", Malorie Blackman has said, arguing for the necessity of both. And in a time when slut-shaming and body dysmorphia are endemic, and it's especially difficult to navigate adolescence for girls, YA, according to Sarra Manning , is particularly rich in heroines, resonating with readers who feel isolated, freakish and "not good enough".

To me, YA means challenge – encountering diverse protagonists and situations I'll never experience myself (including being a teenager again) but which stretch me to empathise with and contemplate. I've written in the past about being a disgusting wimp who can't finish distressing stories and is reduced to jelly by ambiguous endings – but, curiously, this doesn't apply when I'm reading YA. I frequently pick up books I know I will find upsetting, because I believe, from past experience, that I will also find these titles intensely memorable, risk-taking and rich. Having read gloom-filled Russian classics and canonical, "grown-up" literature aplenty in my teens, now, for me, is the time to read, and revel in, YA.

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What Does 'Young Adult' Mean?

What exactly is "Y.A."? What does it mean? Why did it begin in the first place, and when was that? What has it become since? We conferred with librarians, agents, publishing world executives, and the experts of the Internet to put together a primer of sorts.

define ya books

Y.A. for Grownups is a weekly series in which we talk about Y.A. literature—from the now nostalgia-infused stories we devoured as kids to more contemporary tomes being read by young people today.

When we launched our series on Young Adult fiction for the many adults who are reading those books, we didn't consider it a statement about the official publishing-world definition of "Y.A." That's why, in our first installation, we included a number of technically non-Young-Adult books . Some, like From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler or Beverly Cleary's Ramona series, are what you'd call "middle grade," or even "children's," for the under-12 set. Books like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Anne of Green Gables came before the term "Y.A." came into wide use, and so, while they featured girl characters of a certain age, and continue to be read fondly by girls of various ages, they were technically books for grown-ups. Meanwhile, the later books in the Harry Potter and Twilight series, for instance, skew on the older side of Y.A., with very adult situations unfolding for older characters—perhaps another reason they've found such a cross-over audience with adults.

For our purposes, it doesn't so much matter what the strict publishing definition of Y.A. is: this series is about re-reading the books we grew up on, and revisiting them in new ways, as well as looking at new books that captivate not only kids but also adults. We cared less about what they were sold as, or what part of the library or bookstore we found them in, as long as they were books we felt strongly about as adults, even if they were technically targeted to younger readers. It did matter to some of our readers, however, who pointed out—very nicely, we'd add—that we weren't quite being accurate with our terminology here:

Laer Carroll   5 days ago This essay is not about YA but middle-school girl heroes. But it has a wonderful side effect for me. I just now realized 6--10 of these books will make a great double-birthday gift for my two grand-daughters who are in low- and high-end middle school.
McLicious   1 week ago Really love the intent behind this, and if it's a regular column, I will keep reading. But yes, you clearly need some insight from editors and librarians, as you're not understanding the difference between middle grade and YA. Very different themes, focus, treatment, and issues.

Of course, these are valid points, and lead to interesting questions. What exactly is "Y.A."? What does it mean? Why did it begin in the first place, and when was that? What has it become since? We conferred with librarians, agents, publishing world executives, and the experts of the Internet to put together a primer of sorts. They don't all agree, either—nor is this current-day definition one that will remain so forever. As author Michael Cart , writing for YALSA , the Young Adult Library Services Association, for which he is a former president, explains, "The term 'young adult literature' is inherently amorphous, for its constituent terms 'young adult' and 'literature' are dynamic, changing as culture and society — which provide their context — change."

What is Y.A., exactly?

define ya books

One thing Y.A. is not is a genre; it's a category, as with adult literature, containing all sorts of types of writing, from fiction to nonfiction. As Tracy van Straaten, VP at Scholastic, reminded us, "Something people tend to forget is that YA is a category not a genre, and within it is every possible genre: fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary, non-fiction. There's so much richness within the category."

What's the history of the category?

Cart writes,

When the term first found common usage in the late 1960’s, it referred to realistic fiction that was set in the real (as opposed to imagined), contemporary world and addressed problems, issues, and life circumstances of interest to young readers aged approximately 12-18. Such titles were issued by the children’s book divisions of American publishers and were marketed to institutions – libraries and schools – that served such populations.  While some of this remains true today, much else has changed. In recent years, for example, the size of this population group has changed dramatically. Between 1990 and 2000 the number of persons between 12 and 19 soared to 32 million, a growth rate of seventeen percent that significantly outpaced the growth of the rest of the population. The size of this population segment has also increased as the conventional definition of “young adult” has expanded to include those as young as ten and, since the late 1990s, as old as twenty-five.

Leonard Marcus , historian, critic, and writer, told The Atlantic Wire that the history of "Y.A." goes all the way back to the psychologist G. Stanley Hall, who's credited with defining adolescence as a stage of life in the early 1900s, when reformers focused on kids at risk, particularly kids growing up in intense urban environments, and tried to improve their lot in life. In the 1930s Margaret A. Edwards , who became an administrator of young adult programs at Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, took a special interest in writing for teens, and did significant work to further the category. (A yearly award is given in her honor. )

define ya books

Marcus points to World War II as another impetus in the creation of Y.A. literature. Teens were put through the very grownup experience of war, and came back as veterans old beyond their years, while their younger brothers "felt they'd missed the experience of a lifetime." This, says Marcus, had a huge impact on society, setting the stage for things like rock-and-roll, and more grown-up literature for "kids." But there's also clearly a marketing element at work here: The creation of Y.A. as a category makes "good business sense," says Marcus. "All along since the beginning of the 20th century, specialized publishing departments were being formed, with the underlying idea to create a parallel world to the world of the institutional book buyers."

Is there a difference in terms of sales for Y.A. versus adult fiction authors? What about advances?

From the perspective of the agenting world, McCarthy says, "Authors can certainly make the same sorts of advances in young adult publishing that they would on the adult side. In fact, quite a few make significantly more than their adult counterparts because there’s been such a boom in the category over the past 10 years. Just by the number of midlist adult fiction authors making the shift to Y.A., you can tell that a lot of people actually see it as the real place to make money now." (Authors who've written Y.A. include Michael Chabon, Isabel Allende, Dale Peck, Julia Alvarez, T. C. Boyle, Joyce Carol Oates, Francine Prose, and others). Says McCarthy, "There is a sense that this category is the bright spot in an increasingly challenging publishing universe." Marcus related a funny story: Apparently, when Hemingway was writing, his editor at Scribner told him if he took out the curse words and didn't say "damn" all the time, he could be a Y.A. novelist. He didn't try, but Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings , author of The Yearling , got the same advice, and heeded it.

How has the popularity of Y.A. changed readers, making them less concerned with categories?

define ya books

Cart supports that with numbers: "As a result of these newly expansive terms [the "definition of Y.A."], the numbers of books being published for this audience have similarly increased, perhaps by as much as 25 percent, based on the number of titles being reviewed by a leading journal," he writes. "Though once dismissed as a genre consisting of little more than problem novels and romances, young adult literature has, since the mid-1990’s, come of age as literature – literature that welcomes artistic innovation, experimentation, and risk-taking."

Literature, that is, that people of all ages want to read. If one of the great values of Y.A. is its ability to, as Cart writes, "offer readers an opportunity to see themselves reflected in its pages," there's no stopping its nostalgic thrall for adults who want to continue to do this, whether they're re-reading books from their youth, or trying completely new ones out in their 30s.

A Brief History of Young Adult Fiction

Before there such a thing as “YA,” librarians struggled not just to define a genre, but to figure out how to get books in the hands of young readers.

Students looking for books in a school library

Ellen Conford, who died on March 23, was one of the pioneering writers of what was then a nascent literary movement: young adult (YA) fiction. In honor of her life and work, here’s a look back at YA before it was YA—a time when librarians struggled not just to define a genre, but to figure out how to get books about young readers in the hands of young readers.

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Though young adult literature has arguably existed since at least Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series, which was published in the 1930s, teachers and librarians were slow to accept books for teenagers as a genre. “Today, many librarians are acting like frightened ostriches,” Mary Kingsbury complained in 1971. Afraid of parental criticism and the threat of concerned administrators, she claimed, librarians were turning away from a tide of literature about and for young adults. “Librarians may never span the generation gap,” she predicted, “but by sensitive book selection they can demonstrate an awareness of the particular hang-ups being lived through by young people.”

Just seven years later, the phrase “young adult” was becoming increasingly common in libraries. But with the new title came new concerns about realism in books for young readers—books that, according to Maia Pank Mertz , worried adults who feared that “some young-adult novels defy, or indeed attempt to subvert, society.” Mertz, on the other hand, defended the trend of “New Realism” in young adult novels, looking at books like S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders and challenging librarians to “develop students who can critically examine our culture’s covert as well as overt assumptions.”

By 1980, critics were already looking for some kind of canon of young adult novels. Noting that the genre had begun to tackle “subjects of real depth,” Linda Bachelder and colleagues nominated 17 books, including Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War and Judy Blume’s Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret as “classics” of the genre. By comparing young adult novels to books by classic authors like Faulkner and Dickens, Bachelder helped legitimize books for young readers.

Another decade led to even more legitimacy for young adult books. In her 1989 essay “Laughing with , or Laughing at the Young Adult Romance,” Brenda O. Daly noted that young adult literature was extremely popular with its intended audience—but that adult critics made the mistake of assuming it was all the same. By interrogating works such as Conford’s Strictly for Laughs , Daly pointed out a new trend in YA: books that explore “the territory of female imagination” and act as inclusive portrayals of teenagers.

Today, young adult fiction is a force to be reckoned with —books for children and young adults gained 22.4% in sales in 2014, and a whopping 55 percent of YA novels are now purchased by adults. The genre’s road toward legitimacy has been a rocky one, but we can thank pioneers like Ellen Conford for blazing a trail for YA.

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What Exactly Is Young Adult Literature? A Brief History

Topics: Children's Books , Book History

If you ask a book lover what they read during their young, formative years, the conversation will inevitably turn to how “we didn’t have books like The Hunger Games when I was growing up.” And it’s true: young adult literature as a genre only began to take root in the 1970s and ‘80s, but boy, has it ever gone through a growth spurt since then. Books for teens are dominating book sales and box offices these days. Where did this phenomenon begin?

The_outsiders_1967_first_edition

S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders came out in 1967, and publishers began waking up to the untapped teenage audience. Hinton’s book typified what publishers were looking for in YA: straight talk about the challenges that teens face, and high emotional stakes with high emotional payouts. It helped that Hinton was herself a teenager (18 years old) when it was published.

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The trend continued into the 1980s, when episodic series books like Sweet Valley High and The Babysitter’s Club reigned supreme. It wasn’t just a girl’s club, though; while young women comprised a majority of the YA reading audience, young men had authors like Robert Cormier ( The Chocolate War , 1974) and Walter Dean Myers.

The_Giver

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, YA literature returned in the new millennium even better than before thanks to — you guessed it — Harry Potter . J.K. Rowling’s teenage readers needed other things to read, and publishers were happy to provide.

First_Part_Last

Current trends in YA literature favor stand-alone novels, greater diversity of authors and characters across racial, ethnic, and sexual identities, and the burgeoning New Adult genre for young people in their 20s. While some critics try to shame adults for reading YA books , it reflects a blindness and ignorance of the great writing and storytelling to be found here. Isn’t it time to try a little YA yourself?

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The Value of Young Adult Literature

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By Michael Cart for YALSA

Adopted by yalsa’s board of directors, january 2008.

Abstract: This White Paper will discuss the nature and evolution of young adult literature with particular emphasis on its current condition and its value to its intended readership. In discussing its increased viability as a body of critically lauded literature, it will also discuss its importance in meeting the life needs of young adults and its increasing value in enhancing adolescent literacy. It will conclude by affirming the Young Adult Library Services Association’s commitment to evaluating, promoting, and supporting the most widespread availability possible of this literature to American youth.

Background:  The term “young adult literature” is inherently amorphous, for its constituent terms “young adult” and “literature” are dynamic, changing as culture and society — which provide their context — change. When the term first found common usage in the late 1960’s, it referred to realistic fiction that was set in the real (as opposed to imagined), contemporary world and addressed problems, issues, and life circumstances of interest to young readers aged approximately 12-18. Such titles were issued by the children’s book divisions of American publishers and were marketed to institutions – libraries and schools – that served such populations. While some of this remains true today, much else has changed. In recent years, for example, the size of this population group has changed dramatically. Between 1990 and 2000 the number of persons between 12 and 19 soared to 32 million, a growth rate of seventeen percent that significantly outpaced the growth of the rest of the population. The size of this population segment has also increased as the conventional definition of “young adult” has expanded to include those as young as ten and, since the late 1990s, as old as twenty-five.

“Literature,” which traditionally meant fiction, has also expanded to include new forms of literary – or narrative — nonfiction and new forms of poetry, including novels and book-length works of nonfiction in verse. The increasing importance of visual communication has begun to expand this definition to include the pictorial, as well, especially when offered in combination with text as in the case of picture books, comics, and graphic novels and nonfiction.

As a result of these newly expansive terms, the numbers of books being published for this audience have similarly increased, perhaps by as much as 25 percent, based on the number of titles being reviewed by a leading journal.  Similarly, industry analyst Albert Greco states that the sale of young adult books increased by 23 percent from 1999 to 2005.

Though once dismissed as a genre consisting of little more than problem novels and romances, young adult literature has, since the mid-1990’s, come of age as literature – literature that welcomes artistic innovation, experimentation, and risk-taking.

Evidence of this is the establishment of the Michael L. Printz Award, which YALSA presents annually to the author of the best young adult book of the year, “best” being defined solely in terms of literary merit. Further evidence is the extraordinary number of critically acclaimed adult authors who have begun writing for young adults – authors like Michael Chabon, Isabel Allende, Dale Peck, Julia Alvarez, T. C. Boyle, Joyce Carol Oates, Francine Prose, and a host of others. As a result of these and other innovations young adult literature has become one of the most dynamic, creatively exciting areas of publishing.

Position: YALSA is acknowledging this growing diversity by expanding the number of book-related awards and lists it presents and publishes. Audio books and graphic novels are only two of the new areas that YALSA is targeting. Meanwhile it continues to promote excellence in the field through such established prizes as the Printz, ALEX, and Margaret A. Edwards Awards and such recommended lists as Best Books for Young Adults and Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers.

YALSA also acknowledges that whether one defines young adult literature narrowly or broadly, much of its value cannot be quantified but is to be found in how it addresses the needs of its readers. Often described as “developmental,” these needs recognize that young adults are beings in evolution, in search of self and identity; beings who are constantly growing and changing, morphing from the condition of childhood to that of adulthood. That period of passage called “young adulthood” is a unique part of life, distinguished by unique needs that are – at minimum — physical, intellectual, emotional, and societal in nature.

By addressing these needs, young adult literature is made valuable not only by its artistry but also by its relevance to the lives of its readers. And by addressing not only their needs but also their interests, the literature becomes a powerful inducement for them to read, another compelling reason to value it, especially at a time when adolescent literacy has become a critically important issue. The Alliance for Excellent Education has declared a “literacy crisis among middle and high school students” in the wake of research from the National Assessment of Educational Progress that finds 65 percent of graduating high school seniors and 71 percent of America’s eighth graders are reading below grade level.

As literacy has become another developmental need of young adults, organizations like the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English have begun to recognize the imperative need for “a wide variety of reading material that they (young adults) can and want to read” (IRA), books that “should be self-selected and of high interest to the reader” (NCTE), young adult books, in short.   

As a literature of relevance that meets developmental needs – including literacy skills — young adult literature also becomes a developmental asset , which YALSA’s New Directions For Library Service To Young Adults defines as “a factor promoting positive teenage development.” The independent, nonprofit Search Institute offers a framework of forty such developmental assets.

YALSA finds another of the chief values of young adult literature in its capacity to offer readers an opportunity to see themselves reflected in its pages. Young adulthood is, intrinsically, a period of tension. On the one hand young adults have an all-consuming need to belong. But on the other, they are also inherently solipsistic, regarding themselves as being unique, which – for them — is not cause for celebration but, rather, for despair. For to be unique is to be unlike one’s peers, to be “other,” in fact. And to be “other” is to not belong but, instead, to be outcast. Thus, to see oneself in the pages of a young adult book is to receive the reassurance that one is not alone after all, not other, not alien but, instead, a viable part of a larger community of beings who share a common humanity. Another value of young adult literature is its capacity for fostering understanding, empathy, and compassion by offering vividly realized portraits of the lives – exterior and interior – of individuals who are un likethe reader. In this way young adult literature invites its readership to embrace the humanity it shares with those who – if not for the encounter in reading – might forever remain strangers or – worse — irredeemably “other.”

Still another value of young adult literature is its capacity for telling its readers the truth, however disagreeable that may sometimes be, for in this way it equips readers for dealing with the realities of impending adulthood and for assuming the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

By giving readers such a frame of reference, it also helps them to find role models, to make sense of the world they inhabit, to develop a personal philosophy of being, to determine what is right and, equally, what is wrong, to cultivate a personal sensibility. To, in other words, become civilized.

Conclusion: For all of these reasons the Young Adult Library Services Association values young adult literature, believes it is an indispensable part of public and school library collections, and regards it as essential to healthy youth development and the corollary development of healthy communities in which both youth and libraries can thrive.         

  • Alliance for Excellent Education. Press Center, http://all4ed.org/press_room . Accessed 9/28/07.
  • Cart, Michael. “Teens and the Future of Reading.” American Libraries. October 2007.
  • Cart, Michael. “Young Adult Literature: The State of a Restless Art” in Passions and Pleasures by Michael Cart. Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press, 2007
  • International Reading Association. “Adolescent Literacy” www.reading.org/resources/issues/positions_adolescent.html Accessed 9/28/07.
  • Magazine Publishers of America. Teen Market Profile. www.magazine.org/content/files/teenprofile04.pdf  (PDF file). Accessed 9/28/07.
  • NCTE. “A Call To Action.” www.ncte.org   Accessed 9/28/07.
  • Patrick Jones for the Young Adult Library Services Association. New Directions for Library Service to Young Adults.  Edited by Linda Waddle. Chicago: ALA, 2002.
  • Search Institute. www.search-institute.org .

Book Genres

YA Fiction Genre – Complete List of Book Genres

by Mark Malatesta | Feb 9, 2018 | Children's Book Genres

Home » Children's Book Genres » YA Fiction Genre – Complete List of Book Genres

YA Fiction Genre –  What’s the best definition for the YA fiction book genre? The YA (young adult) fiction genre consists of themes, styles, and plot elements that appeal to a younger reading audience. The main character’s age often sets the age of the targeted audience (12-18 (sometimes considered teen fiction) or 16-25 years of age). The subject matter and story lines in the YA fiction genre follow the interest and thoughts of the main character, mirroring the feelings/emotions and circumstances facing their life. YA stories are relevant to the target readers. Most stories include coming of age themes or dealing with high school or college issues, or even trying to make their own way despite their parents.

YA fiction is written in a spectrum of genres.

Books in the young adult fiction genre are often 40-80,000 words in length.

Scroll below now to see 25 YA fiction book genre examples, or click here to see all book genres for kids .

YA Fiction Genre – Examples

Review this list of popular examples to help you get a better understanding of the YA  fiction book genre.

1. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

2. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

3. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

5. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

6. Eragon by Christopher Paolini

7. Graceling by Kristin Cashore

8. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

9. Holes by Louis Sachar

10. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

11. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

12. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

13. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

14. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

15. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

16. The Giver by Lois Lowry

17. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

18. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

19. The Host by Stephenie Meyer

20. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

21. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

22. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

23. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

24. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

25. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

YA Fiction Genre – Related Book Genres

*  Juvenile Book Genre

* Juvenile Fiction Definition

* Juvenile Nonfiction Genre

* New Adult Fiction Genre

*  Young Adult Genre

* YA Nonfiction Genre

Click here now to see all

book genres for kids .

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                                                                      What is Young Adult Literature?  

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Young Adult Literature is a genre that is separate from Children's Literature. It emerge d in the twentieth century when teenagers became a powerful force of the economy in the 1930s and gained prominence in the sixties.

The following excerpts are taken from Michael Cart's white paper titled The Value of Young Adult Literature which was adopted by the Young Adult Library Services Association's (YALSA) Board of Directors in 2008.

The term "young adult literature" is inherently amorphous, for its constituent terms "young adult" and "literature" are dynamic, changing as culture and society - which provide their context - change. When the term first found common usage in the late 1960's, it referred to realistic fiction that was set in the real (as opposed to imagined), contemporary world and addressed problems, issues, and life circumstances of interest to young readers aged approximately 12-18...

"Literature," which traditionally meant fiction, has also expanded to include new forms of literary - or narrative - nonfiction and new forms of poetry, including novels and book-length works of nonfiction in verse. The increasing importance of visual communication has begun to expand this definition to include the pictorial as well, especially when offered in combination with text as in the case of picture books, comics, and graphic novels and nonfiction.

As a result of these newly expansive terms, the number of books being published for this audience have similarly increased, perhaps by as much as 25 percent, based on the number of titles being reviewed by a leading journal. Similarly, industry analyst Albert Greco states that the sale of young adult books increased by 23 percent from 1999-2005

Though once dismissed as a genre consisting of little more than problem novels and romances, young adult literature has, since the mid-1990's, come of age as literature - literature that welcomes artistic innovation, experimentation, and risk-taking."

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  • Last Updated: Jan 22, 2024 1:27 PM
  • URL: https://libguides.southernct.edu/youngadultliterature

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COMMENTS

  1. What are YA books? And who is reading them?

    What are YA books? And who is reading them? Which books count as Young Adult, and which as teen or New Adult is ambiguous, and their readership is equally hard to define Imogen Russell...

  2. Young adult literature

    Young adult literature ( YA) is literature, most often including novels, written for readers from 12 to 18 years of age. [1] [2] The term YA was first used regularly in the 1960s in the United States.

  3. What Is Young Adult Fiction? Definition ...

    In fact, most of the books that have gone viral or been adapted for film or television lately are categorized as YA. For example, The Maze Runner, Divergent, and The Hunger Games are just a few YA titles that have amassed legions of loyal fans of their books and film adaptations. What Is Young Adult Fiction?

  4. 3 Key Differences Between YA Fiction and Adult Fiction

    1. The age of the protagonist/s Without a doubt, the primary difference between young adult and adult fiction is the age of the main characters. For a book to fall firmly into the 'young adult' category, it must have at least one teenage protagonist, usually aged in the upper teens - between 15 and 19 years old.

  5. YA Books: what exactly are they?

    In the simplest way of putting it, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) suggests that young adult books are "those aimed at kids aged 12 to 18," while the terminology itself only dates back to around the 1960's. S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders is often considered to be the first YA novel. Case closed, right? Not exactly.

  6. PDF Introduction to Young Adult Literature What is Young Adult Literature?

    For the purposes of this course, a broad definition for young adult literature is used that includes books written specifically for a teenage audience, books that focus on young adults as characters, and texts that may appeal to young audiences for a variety of reasons, regardless of the age of the characters or the intended target audience.

  7. What Does 'Young Adult' Mean?

    Y.A. for Grownups is a weekly series in which we talk about Y.A. literature—from the now nostalgia-infused stories we devoured as kids to more contemporary tomes being read by young people today.

  8. A Brief History of Young Adult Fiction

    A Brief History of Young Adult Fiction Before there such a thing as "YA," librarians struggled not just to define a genre, but to figure out how to get books in the hands of young readers. By: Erin Blakemore April 10, 2015 3 minutes The icon indicates free access to the linked research on JSTOR.

  9. The Ultimate Guide to YA Fiction

    Written by Emma Johnson in Fiction Writing, Writing Over the past decade, the Young Adult (YA) fiction market has grown so much, it's a wonder authors are still writing adult books at all. In fact, a 2015 study found that young adults were more likely to have read a book in the last twelve months than any other age group.

  10. What Exactly Is Young Adult Literature? A Brief History

    What Exactly Is Young Adult Literature? A Brief History By Katie Behrens. Mar 10, 2017. 9:00 AM. Topics: Children's Books , Book History If you ask a book lover what they read during their young, formative years, the conversation will inevitably turn to how "we didn't have books like The Hunger Games when I was growing up."

  11. The Most Defining YA Books of All Time

    After all, books belong to their readers, which means the YA experience isn't the same from person to person. That said, when we started putting this list together, we considered books that caused a lot of buzz while also considering books that defied genres, explored important topics, started movements and some that were simply a good time.

  12. A brief history of young adult literature

    The term "young adult" was coined by the Young Adult Library Services Association during the 1960s to represent the 12-18 age range. Novels of the time, like S. E. Hinton's "The Outsiders ...

  13. The 25 Best YA Books of All Time

    Young adult books are still super popular for a reason. Being a teenager is a time of self definition and so many exciting firsts. It's a time when people (and therefor) characters are really deciding who they are and who they want to be. And that's thrilling to read about, whether a YA story is about a character falling in love for the ...

  14. 10 Things You Should Know About Young Adult Fiction

    7. First person point of view is prevalent, but not a necessity. This is a common misconception about Young Adult fiction. First person does appear to be more common because of the intimacy and the instant connection with the narrator, but there is nothing stopping you from writing in close third person.

  15. The Key Differences Between Middle Grade vs Young Adult

    Marie Lamba Aug 7, 2014 OK, class. What sets a middle-grade novel apart from a young adult novel? If you said MG is for readers ages 8-12, and YA is for readers ages 13-18, then give yourself a check plus.

  16. The Value of Young Adult Literature

    The size of this population segment has also increased as the conventional definition of "young adult" has expanded to include those as young as ten and, since the late 1990s, as old as twenty-five. ... industry analyst Albert Greco states that the sale of young adult books increased by 23 percent from 1999 to 2005. Though once dismissed as ...

  17. YA Fiction Genre

    The YA (young adult) fiction genre consists of themes, styles, and plot elements that appeal to a younger reading audience. The main character's age often sets the age of the targeted audience (12-18 (sometimes considered teen fiction) or 16-25 years of age).

  18. What Makes a Novel Young Adult?

    Many people believe a young adult novel is simply a book with teenage characters, but YA is so much more than that. To truly be young adult, those characters must have a teenage perspective, conflicts, and more. This article covers the bare minimum a story needs to be classified as and appeal to the audience of young adult literature.

  19. What Is YA Literature? 3 Best Examples

    Young adult books promote inclusivity and diversity, with many books including characters from various backgrounds. Diversity and Representation. Often, young adult novels include characters with various racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds while also exploring sexuality and gender identity. YA literature is known for providing a safe space ...

  20. Young Adult Literature

    Similarly, industry analyst Albert Greco states that the sale of young adult books increased by 23 percent from 1999-2005 Though once dismissed as a genre consisting of little more than problem novels and romances, young adult literature has, since the mid-1990's, come of age as literature - literature that welcomes artistic innovation ...

  21. What Was The First "YA" Book?

    Paul Zindel and SE Hinton would come to define early YA books in the '60s, but it was Maureen Daly's Seventeenth Summer which most commonly earns distinction as the first book for and about teenagers. Maureen Daly was born in Ireland, moving to the US in the 1920s. They settled in the mid-size town of Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, and Maureen ...

  22. How would you define YA? : r/books

    Most YA books hint at sex scenes with fade-to-black; the characters may have sex but there are never any pulsating members. In the end, though, what really defines YA is the publisher. If it's marketed as YA, it's YA, and the exact definition will vary according to publisher, editor, and author.

  23. Our Most Anticipated YA Books March 2024

    Scott Reintgen delivers in this haunting tale following a group of young wizards with a malfunctioning spell and an untimely death between them. Shifting eyes and pointed fingers follow them through an intricate fantasy world. Perfect for fans of Rachel Gillig. Hardcover $19.99.

  24. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

    [1] Plot summary When Siddalee and Vivi Walker, an utterly original mother-daughter team, get into a savage fight over a New York Times article that refers to Vivi as a "tap-dancing child abuser," the fall-out is felt from Louisiana to New York to Seattle.