Friday, May 29, 2015

5 Common Misconceptions About Young Adult Literature | YA Talk

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YA has become an increasingly more popular genre in the last few years.
Whenever I tell somebody that I read YA, the first thing they say is: "Wait, isn't that only for kids?"

There are so many misconceptions about YA that I decided to smash them together and destroy them in a post.
1. Only kids read YA

In a 2012 study Bowker Market Research determined that "fully 55% of buyers of works that publishers designate for kids aged 12 to 17 [...] are 18 or older, with the largest segment aged 30 to 44". In around 78% of the cases, the adults aren't even buying those books for their children, friends or relatives, but for themselves.
(Source: Bowker)

2. But YA stands for Young Adult Fiction - It's only for teenagers!

Actually, YA is a genre. It refers to protagonists aged around 12-18 that are all going through similar stages while growing up. You wouldn't say that crime fiction is only for serial killers and criminals, would you?

3. YA writing is worse than the writing in Adult writing

Why would you think that? Do publishers and literary agents suddenly put on blindfolds when handling YA manuscripts? It would be quite unsettling if YA writing was characterized by being poor quality writing. You'd think that if this genre was only for teenagers, it would be made sure that they get the highest quality educational material available, right? 

I've noticed that it's way easier to find well-written and even popular YA lit about controversial topics like LGBTQIA issues, social stigmata and feminism than adult fiction. There are great and not so great books in every genre, why would it be different for YA literature? But yeah, if you think James Patterson and Nicholas Sparks are the whole grail of literature compared to YA written by Laini Taylor or Julie Anne Peters, I don't think this conversation is worth having.

4. YA readers read YA because they can't handle regular adult fiction

Why? I read both. I tend to go back to YA more often because I rather identify with protagonists of similar age to mine. I've gone through similar things than those characters, and even people twice my age might think the same way. 

5. YA topics are immature

Dystopian fiction has become a risingly popular branch of YA. I'm sure you've all seen The Hunger Games and Divergent - these were originally YA books by Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth. 

Dystopian fiction is characterized by dealing with a dystopian view in the future, mostly involving an uprising of the people towards the end. The concept of The Hunger Games is literally putting a bunch of children in a fighting area and letting them fight to the death. Pretty light reading, right? I mean, it's not like there are other YA books that aren't dealing with crushes and high school. 

- Popular YA about violence and abuse: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Dreamland by Sarah Dessen, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, Just Listen by Sarah Dessen ...
- Popular YA about death: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, If I Stay by Gayle Forman, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult, Before I Die by Jenny Downham ...

In Conclusion

It doesn't make a difference whether you prefer adult of YA fiction. Maybe you even read both! At the end of the day books are here to entertain us. Nothings speaks against reading solely the one or the other or even both! In terms of quality YA is just the same as adult fiction. There are good quality books and there are bad quality books. 
In general it shouldn't matter to you what the target audience is, since marketing predictions only work in theory anyway. If you don't like YA, don't read it.

What are things that you've heard people say

 when you tell them you read 


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Instant Love and Why It Ruins Everything 
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  1. I love how you made this post! I'm almost 20 years old, and people tell me that I'm too old to read YA. It's so annoying! I started reading YA in elementary school, but no one stopped me even though the books dealt with more mature topics. It's so annoying that people assume that since it's about teenagers, it must be low quality and easy to read. Can't let the haters stop us from reading what we want!!

  2. Thank you!! :)
    Absolutely agree. Hell, if you'd like reading children's picture books I'd still defend you to the death. We should read what we want to read, it's not like we're doing anybody harm.

  3. L. E. ChristopherMay 29, 2015 at 11:16 PM

    This, like so many other things, is just a good example of people judging people for something that's none of their business. If you read YA, that's great! If you don't, then that's fine too. But no one should tell anyone else what to read or not read. That's just asinine. At least you're reading something.

    I not only read YA, but write it, and honestly, it's a lot easier than you would think to address issues like consent, feminism, equal rights, etc. in YA novels. Kids tend to view things as very black and white, or maybe more importantly, what is fair versus unfair more so than black and white. What's considered fair is a huge issue when you have very little control over your own life, as most teenagers think they do(n't).

  4. I couldn't have said it better. I definitely agree.

  5. Haha, YA is getting a bad rep? Tsk tsk. Some of my fave books are YA (have you read The Book Thief yet?).

  6. Always has been! Naaah, I'm reading A Clash of Kings!

  7. Love this post Jen! I agree with everything you said up there. YA books often tackle deep,controversial and inspirational concepts with ease and teach a lot of life lessons. They change our opinions, our attitude and sometimes our whole life.
    And I find that YA books sometimes have a better writing style, character depth and world building than any other genre, and it's so wrong to say that YA is for kids and they are not so special.

  8. Thank you! They do, but this doesn't necessarily mean that adult literature doesn't. I think it's really a pointless argument to try to determine which genre does what better. Every genre has its good and bad books and it's perfectly fine to read whatever you want.

  9. Usually people have one of the comments you listed. I do read ya and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I don't think they are less serious that adult fiction, but they deal with different topics sometimes (like growing up etc). It's nice mixing it up. :)

  10. I think most people who don't like YA and think it's only for kids will use at least one of these reasons that you listed. I totally agree with you on all counts. Just because a book focuses on a younger protagonist, it doesn't mean that it needs to be badly written, immature and fluffy. There are tons of crappy YA books, just as there are tons of crappy books in every single genre. There are still TONS of fantastically written YA books that cover some serious issues in a mature fashion.

  11. This is a fantastic post! I hate being put in a box because I love YA fiction over every other genre. I used to be too embarrassed to admit that I love it, but these days I don't much care. I read what I love!!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

  12. I think YA can be as serious as adult literature (think of women's fiction and comedy, they aren't super serious, are they?) You're right! Mixing it up is key.

  13. Thank you! You shouldn't be, whatever floats our boats ;)

  14. I agree that both ya and adult can be serious or fluffy, it all depends on the author. Paranormal romance meant for adults is not serious either, for example. :)

  15. YES, this is such a great post! Seriously, WHY do people not understand YA? I mean, my MOM reads YA all the time (among other things) and she is 60! I used to be wary of telling people but now... everyone I know wants recommendations ;)

    Also, I find it funny, because Young Adult, in my mind, sounds like it would be a young ADULT- so you know, someone like, 20-30ish. So when people get all weird about YA, it doesn't even make sense to me. I don't care how old a character is if I can connect to the story and the characters! Fabulous post!

  16. Also I think that if you'd exchange the ages of 16 year old protagonists to 25, the story would still make sense, because the characters in YA are always super mature. Thank you!

  17. Crime fiction is totally only for serial killers. Must be why I'm not a big fan. :-)

    I totally agree with you on all of these points. Just like any genre, there are good and bad examples. And, heck - the ones that I think are good might not match up with what someone else does. To each his own, I say.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  18. Cecilie BlombergJune 5, 2015 at 3:46 PM

    What a great post! I haven't really heard any of these things being said, but I imagine that is what people would say if I told them I read YA. In my local bookstore the YA books are next to the children's books or a part of them, so that makes me feel awkward.

    Also, I nominated you for the Liebster award. You can check it out here: :D

  19. Thank you so much!!
    There's nothing to be ashamed of, you like what you like. Even if you read children's picture books, it doesn't matter how old you are. You're never to old to read anything.

  20. Cecilie BlombergJune 7, 2015 at 10:58 AM

    I absolutely agree! :D Seeing that other people agree as well made me feel better, so thank you for this post :)

  21. YA literally just refers to the age of the protagonists, I don't know why people don't understand this. Thank you!! <3


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