I cannot lie. I am a YA fan. The Guilty Adult in me wants to use my teaching career as an excuse...oh I have to read contemporary YA to see what's out there; it's for the kids. But truth be told, my kids are hardly readers, and although I do give booktalks in the hopes of TURNING them INTO readers, it's a constant battle.
The Authentic Me just owns up to the love for YA. I've thought about WHY YA off and on again, in this nonchalant weekend sundry kinda way, but to no satisfactory pinpointed understanding. Sure, they're easy reads and yeah, sometimes I just want to curl up with a book that I know will take me away in one sitting...but realistically, there's got to be more than just that. I mean, if that was the case, then why not Danielle Steel or others.
Then, reading this week's Entertainment magazine, there was an ever so brief article on how adult authors were writing more for a young adult audience, i.e. the James Pattersons of the world were writing teeny books and moving away from just the adult audience.
Everyone is jumping on the YA bandwagon. Except for this person who argues that adults should read adult books.
Which led me to ANOTHER thought. I remember reading way back when another article about authors who publish books only to find out that they are marketed toward the YA audience and they're all, like, what the what?! THIS is equally as intriguing because they seem to be put off getting labeled as a YA writer. Like there's little prestige in that genre/audience and they want to shirk away from it.
So...what makes YA ya? ('Cuz you know I listening to The Daughter of Smoke and Bone and it's a YA book, but I wonder if it couldn't equally hold it's on it the fantasy section of a bookstore with different marketing and cover appeal?)
Characteristics of YA Fiction
The protagonist is a teenager.
Events revolve around the protagonist and his/her struggle to resolve conflict.
The story is told from the viewpoint and in the voice of a young adult.
Literature is written by and for young adults.
Literature is marketed to the young adult audience.
Story doesn’t have a “storybook” or “happily-ever-after” ending—a characteristic of
Parents are noticeably absent or at odds with young adults.
Themes address coming-of-age issues (e.g., maturity, sexuality, relationships, drugs).
Books contain under 300 pages, closer to 200.
There are plenty of articles out there that list books that adults would love to read.
And THIS article adds to the above list of characteristics and says that teens doubt and if the pov is an uncertain character, it just might be a YA book. This article sorta piggy backs that and points out YA novels include narratives where the biggest theme is coming of age, self discovery.
Is that where my interest comes from? Action paced, self discovery? Constant questioning what's up with this? Where do I go from here? Is there any truth to this? Is it the process of finding oneself that intrigues me ?
Here, they say some of the appeal for older readers is reminiscing about that time in your life. I've got to wonder if there is some truth to that. Maybe YA is the universal connection amongst us. Because, quite honestly, I find that, outside of the classics, most "fun" adult fiction doesn't resonate with me. I'm in my mid thirties, I don't desire marriage, although I'm in a monogamous relationship. Also, I've never really had any desire to have kids. Most contemporary fiction that I am aware of are of adult relationships (marriages) with children - something that I care little about. I suppose Freud would say that I have not let go of my teen years yet.
If you read YA, why?
FINALLY...more linkage if interested:
If interested, a link to 100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader.
If you want to find out your book reading personality, take the quiz here. Mine is: "You read for entertainment but also to expand your mind. You're open to new ideas and new writers, and are not wedded to a particular genre or limited range of authors." which is pretty much on the nail. [Also, the site this quiz is on, BookBrowse, seems totally awesome and a time suck!]
If you're looking for "smart folk" to recommend YA novels, NPR is looking for your top choices!