I've recently heard some people talking about not wanting to write YA because they think the market is too narrow. Is it?
Young Adult fiction is aimed at young adults. Obviously. But are young adults the only ones reading YA?
You might be surprised at the amount of people who are NOT young adults who are reading YA. If you visit book bloggers who review YA, you’ll see a lot of adults are reading and enjoying YA. A lot of these people are writers, but not all of them. So why are so many adults reading YA?
Our teen years are powerful. There are a lot of emotions in those years. We learn who we really are and what that truly means. We learn what makes us strong, what devastates us, what we can push ourselves to accomplish. Most of us have our first loves and our first broken hearts in these years. Many of us find our career choices and start aiming for those stars—which we know are within our reach.
Seriously, what’s not to love?
On the other end of the spectrum, there are a lot of kids who are definitely NOT YA age who are reading YA books. Is this a bad thing?
I don’t think it is. When I was in grades 5, 6 and 7, there were no YA books. I was finished with most kids’ books by that time and looking for more. So I read adult books. Most of what wasn’t appropriate for me to read went right over my head. The rest of it opened my eyes to the adult world. Which wasn't a bad thing.
These days kids who are ready to read beyond MG books have a lot more choices. When the Twilight books were at the peak of their power, every single girl & about 3/4 of the boys in my class read them. At the time, I was teaching 10- & 11-year-olds. Today I have kids in that same age group reading Hush Hush, Shiver & Linger, Pretties & Co., Vladimir Tod, Beastly, the Mortal Instruments series, The Summer I Turned Pretty, Speak & many more.
Do all of my students read these? Nope. Actually only a few. And even when those kids rave about the books, the others (who aren’t ready emotionally) aren’t interested. Kids seem to find books that fit their emotional/maturity level quite easily. They might try a page or two, they might even skim a few pages to make it seem like they’re reading it. But they won’t read it. (In another post I'll talk a bit about the censorship issue for kids.)
So, if you’re ever tempted to think the YA market isn’t as wide as some of the other markets, I hope you remember you don’t need to be a young adult to enjoy YA fiction!
Have you read a lot of YA fiction? What’s your favourite YA book?