I’ve challenged myself to start thinking about why young adult (YA) fiction is so special to me. YA, in my opinion, has an extra level of fun and excitement, but what is it exactly that creates this?
Is it the fact that YA is always changing? That YA fans are so passionate and friendly? The blend of fun stories with serious undertones and messages?
Many of the most impactful books of recent times have been YA – The Hunger Games, Twilight, The Hate U Give, and many more. It's a genre that makes change and can teach us all important lessons, while being (mostly) easily digestible.
So, let's talk about three reasons YA is so special!
It’s always changing
These days, trends last as little as days, and things go in and out of style seemingly without warning. Although that means YA writers have to be careful to write YA that won’t become outdated as soon as it’s released, it means YA is the first genre to pick up and promote new ideas.
It’s also becoming more diverse. Diversity and representation are lacking across all genres, but with each new generation comes more empathy, education, and effort to make sure media represents the real world and doesn’t harm people. Today’s teens are wonderful, empathetic humans – don’t think you can get problematic work past them.
YA is nostalgic for older readers and relatable to younger readers. It’s a safe space for all, and with its constant evolution, there are always exciting new YA books coming out for us all to enjoy.
Teens have passion
Teens are some of the best fans you can have. The way they love and support the media they connect with – especially on social media – gives a huge boost to our industry. Just think about TV shows like The Vampire Diaries or Gossip Girl; few adult shows have the immense following and intense fandoms that teen shows have.
In the world of books, it seemed that YA was disappearing from teen’s minds for a few years. But with the rise of Booktok, YA has been given a BIG new life. Millions of teenagers are on TikTok now, sharing book reviews and other bookish content (and on Bookstagram too). This means more books are being read, bookstores are having ‘Popular on BookTok’ tables, and authors can gain a big following. There has never been a better time to be a YA author!
We boring adults tend to be so busy with life that our childlike passion for stories disappears a little over time (not that it’s gone forever!). Teenagers, however, are still in that spellbound sweet-spot of falling in love with worlds and characters they can escape to and learn from. I remember as teenager spending more time in fantasy worlds than the real world; with their huge imaginations, teens have a special connection to fiction.
The blend of light-heartedness and serious topics
A particular reason I love YA is because I like my books to be fun and light, while not shying away from depth. That is a little conflicting, and definitely something that’s difficult to write! But that’s why I adore YA.
For me, a successful book keeps me engaged throughout and has characters I love, while going deep into emotions and heavier topics – without being traumatic or going too far. YA, like I’ve said, is a safe space to enjoy big topics in lighter ways.
Since YA is for a younger audience, it's far less likely to include triggering topics. It can teach us about the world, and about people, and allow us to have fun in fictional worlds, without the heaviness that adult books can have.
What's your favourite young adult fiction book? Send me a message on Instagram!