Unbunch your panties and put down the picket signs, I don’t mean it like that.
What I Do Mean
I hate the “Young Adult” classification of books. Both as a reader and as a writer, I feel that trying to put an “age limit” on books is, quite frankly, retarded. I didn’t read YA books for a long time, because of the classification. Honestly, when I picked up a YA book, it was by accident. The same goes with the “Teen” section in book stores. They’re all YA books, but I feel that setting them apart like that keeps adults from picking up the books because “they’re for kids/teens.” Despite the fact that they’re good books. My fiance and I just bought The Maze Runner, by James Dashner after seeing the movie. (Aside: Great movie, go see it. If you’ve read the book, they get a lot wrong, but I’m still in the process of reading the book.)
The Maze Runner is in the Teen/YA section in the bookstore along with many others. If it weren’t for the movie, I never would have picked it up. I think that’s because the perception of YA books is that their second-class as opposed to “real” fiction. This is wrong.
Definition of YA
Alright, a couple quotes from the Young Adult Fiction wikipedia page.
The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) of the American Library Association (ALA) defines a young adult as someone between the ages of twelve and eighteen. Authors and readers of young adult (YA) novels often define the genre as literature as traditionally written for ages ranging from sixteen years up to the age of twenty-five
The subject matter and story lines of YA literature are typically consistent with the age and experience of the main character, but YA literature spans the spectrum of fiction genres.
Okay, young characters do not a YA book make, problem number one.
Problem number two, Young Adult is not a genre, yet we’re using it as one. YA books can be any number of genres, from science fiction to fantasy to realistic fiction.
- YA books are only for teens/children/young adults.
- YA books cannot/should not be read by adults.
- Only teens will like YA books.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Maybe you should discredit everything I’m saying because I’m within that 16 – 25 age gap. But at the same time, I’ve only recently discovered YA books because I subscribed, perhaps unconsciously, to the “YA is not as good as REAL fiction” mindset.
The truth is, everyone can read and enjoy YA books.
Look at The Hunger Games trilogy. Those are “YA” books. My mother enjoyed them. As well as the Divergent series, another YA trilogy.
Why We Need to Get Rid of the YA Genre
It’s insulting. You’re telling teens that they should ONLY read these books. That they can’t handle/understand/read REAL fiction. That they’re not mature enough and they should stick with these books that were tailored just for them. Ugh. This is so wrong. I didn’t start reading YA books until after I graduated from high school. I read the Lord of the Rings in middle school.
The flip side of this argument is even more insulting. You’re telling adults that they shouldn’t read these books. That these books are only for kids or immature young adults. Really? You’re gonna try and tell any one what they can and can’t or should and shouldn’t read?
Alright. So maybe the YA genre is well-meaning. MAYBE it’s not meant to come off as limiting or whatnot. But it does. And it needs to go away.