YA is not a trend, it’s a lifestyle *throws up gang sign*

Young Adult definitely seems to be ‘trendy’ at the moment. Katie Crouch explained why she wanted to write YA (basically cause its not that hard *eyeroll*), there is a brand new movie titled Young Adult coming from the makers of Juno that stars Charlize Theron (the basic plot is YA authors are rich and immature), and a sickening number of celebrity books for the YA crowd (Hillary Duff, Tyra Banks, 50 Cent). What all of these people (and those who publish them) need to understand is that YA isn’t a place where you can make a quick buck. Teens are not as impressionable as you may think, and they see through you completely when you are trying be cool for the sake of cool (trust me I said waddup at teen book club and it wasn’t pretty).

Sure there are tons of adults reading YA now much to the disdain of literary snobs everywhere but there are good reasons to why adults turn to these types of stories. We all lived through a childhood, we all came of age and revisiting those moments in our lives through literature is a fabulous form of escapism and entertainment. Combine all that with the fact that a lot of today’s YA has smart plot, great writing and is character focused you have your reasons to why adults are reading Young Adult.

I like a good litfic, chicklit, romance book now and then, but if I was faced with having to read the over indulgent prose over and over again I wouldn’t be a very good reader or blogger. With YA you are seeing genre after subgenre explored with the same coming of age plot in a myriad of different ways. In the space of a year I can read dystopia, science fiction, chicklit, literary, horror, thriller, and historical books that are all plot driven. Sure YA has a lot of books that are written full of trope like all literary genres do.

So I get that it is profitable and totally trendy right now, but if you aren’t in it with blood, sweat, and tears, if it isn’t your passion, you probably aren’t going to be as profitable as those who are doing it for the love of teen writing. So stop sipping on that ‘wow those are great numbers’ kool-aid, or snobbing those of us who read below our grade level.

Finally, to those authors who are doing it right, you have my upmost adoration and I will champion your books as much as humanly possible.

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10 Responses so far

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    I love YA! Always have. I do not see why someone would say that YA is reading below a certain level for adults. Reading is reading period! The sad thing to see is adults who just flat do not read. Drives me crazy!

  2. Gravatar

    Wow, that article on Slate is driving me crazy. Gah, I am SO glad that I ended up not picking up the Magnolia League. If a YA author has such a negative image of YA, they really aren’t worth my time. I have much much better books to read.

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    That Katie Crouch article made me throw up a little. I did not buy that book.

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    I have yet had to have anyone give me a hard time about reading ‘below my grade level’ yet (except for the glances I get from people when I am browsing through the childrens section in my local B&N), but I don’t really have many people I can talk to about reading with outside of the Harry Potter series. What I really hate though is at school they only teach ‘the classics.’ I’m a Creative Writing major and yet the only things they have us read are Shakespeare and Homer. Authors with works targeted more towards adults. I want to write for Young Adult, Middle Grade, or children’s picture books (I am actually working on one now) and I feel like some of my writing professors look down upon me for that choice.

    I actually had one professor, who has written Young Adult books, that was completely opposed to anything fantasy. I felt like if you wrote and brought a fantasy story into class (it a fiction writing workshop and we had to write four short-stories by the end of the semester) she would grade you much harsher than she would if you brought in a ‘real time’ fiction piece which is the types of stories she wrote. I feel like schools, in some ways, try to dissuade people from reading anything less than what is considered to be ‘high literature’ and having to constantly go over the same works and take them apart over and over again can really take the joy out of it.

    YA is certainly a form of escapism for me. I love how it can be so straightforward yet present to me such a beautiful and captivating tale. That I can meet so many wonderful characters and follow them as they go through live, travel, and essentially discover themselves (something of which I am still trying to do). Sure, I still read and enjoy ‘adult’ books (I am even reading Warbreaker and the first book in the Nightrunner series, and I have even recently read some steamy romances), but that doesn’t mean I can’t also read and enjoy YA books just as much.

    Authors who are just in it for a quick buck should step back and evaluate again why they should be writing.

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    I just saw the trailer for Young Adult. It looks like it could be good, but it seems odd they’re marketing it to the YA novel crowd. Definitely cashing in on that one.

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    Great post. I agree that this is absolutely not a trend. As an adult who reads YA almost exclusively right now, I just got so tired of the same stories rehashed in most of the adult chick lit, crime drama, mystery and horror I was reading. With YA, everything just feels so new and exciting.

    And I got bored of all the disgruntled female mains who used men as love toys. I like the innocent love stories in these books. And the bad boys aren’t really that bad (unless they’re demons dead set on killing the female MC).

    And with so many different sub-genres there is just a larger group of reads.

    Also, as you’ve said it’s about escapism. As much as adult stories of cruelty, drama, heartbreak, loss of a child, loss of a spouse, bad marriage, dead-end job, can be poignant, it’s not an escape. These things happen to friends and family all around me, so why would I want to use them to escape? No thank you!

    Great post! And what you said about authors out for a quick buck, wholeheartedly agree. But you can tell from the writing just how passionate an author is, even if you don’t love their story, you can see the love they have for it. And I find that most YA authors absolutely do love what they do.

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    If I was a published author of YA Fiction, I would be pretty damn insulted right about now.

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    Insulted at what Amy?

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    Cheers. The issue for me is that YA is a lot more imaginative and intelligent than people give it credit for, and that’s doing not only the readers, but the authors and everyone involved a huge disservice.

  10. Gravatar

    Thank you, Pam, for linking to the slate article. I hadn’t been aware of the YA as a way to make a quick buck line of thinking. And I agree – that’s pretty disgusting.

    I wanted, however, to comment on your point about the reaction some adults get for reading YA (or..”reading below their grade level”). On the one hand, we have adults being mocked for reading YA. It seems like some believe that YA is silly and frivolous; why would an adult ever want to read that? On the other hand, we see folks like Meghan Cox Gurdon lamenting about how dark/violent/graphic YA is and how we need to be concerned about what kids are reading. I would think these two lines of thinking contradict each other: either YA is frivolous and silly (in which case it shouldn’t be a problem what kids read) or it’s OMG so dark/violent/graphic (in which case, how can it also be frivolous and silly?).

    For the record, I don’t agree with either line of thinking. It just interests me that both seem to exist.

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