Saturday, April 28, 2012

A-Z Challenge: Y is for YA

Only one day and one letter left!  We can do it!

Y is for YA

Yup.  I decided to devote today to the genre that I write (and adore to read): YA.

What makes a book YA?

I've heard some people say that YA is just a marketing ploy.  Not true!    Drawing on my children's lit scholarship, YA is a genre of literature written specifically for the young adult audience.  Main characters are usually teens (although every now and again an early twenties character pops up in YA), but more importantly, this is literature that speaks to teens.  The themes and issues addressed in the stories will appeal to many readers, but are targeted at youth.  I know that's a vague definition, but YA is a broad category.  If it is targeted to teens with an authentic voice, I consider it YA. 

Some people still  argue that YA is unnecessary, that teens should be reading "real" literature, blah blah blah.  For what it's worth, I believe that teens (and children and adults, for that matter) should read whatever they want.  As a former middle school teacher, I have seen the power of YA: teens who will not read class assigned books and claim to hate reading DEVOUR series like "Bluford High" and "Percy Jackson".  YA fills a vital niche, and besides, it's just plain fun!

For a more in-depth exploration of the term, check out the Wikipedia entry.

Where can I find YA?

Everywhere!  The market has exploded in the last decade (thank you, J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, and Stephanie Meyer!), and more YA is available today than ever before.  Any bookstore or library will have a section dedicated to YA, and it's usually really easy to find.

But if you want some great recommendations, check out YALSA.  The Young Adult Library Services branch of the ALA posts more awards and book lists than anyone could ever read, but I keep trying!  I ALWAYS look at the Teen Top Ten when building my own reading lists, and so far it has never led me astray.

Additional Resources
 
Here's a list of 50 great YA blogs.  If you're a bit older than the Y but you still love YA, check out Forever Young Adult.

Do you remember the first YA novel you ever read?  For some of us, that didn't happen until adulthood.  What are your top three YA reads?

12 comments:

  1. Thanks for the links! I fall into the "bit older than Y" category, but I still love reading YA and have one of my own in the works. Enjoyed your post!

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    1. Thanks, Dana! Hope the resources are helpful!

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  2. It's strange how thing have changed. When I hit my teens I stopped reading kid's books altogether and went straight to adult fiction. i wasn't interested in reading stuff aimed at me, I wanted full-fat adult product. I wonder if all this YA is slowing down that transition.

    new follower,
    mood
    Moody Writing

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    1. I feel like I went through something similar, and now I'm catching up on all the amazing YA. Thanks for following!!

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  3. When I was a YA reading YA, it wasn't called YA, it was called books *smile*

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  4. yup! ya is everywhere. very popular! i'm just glad the young adults are reading!

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  5. I have yet to aboard the YA novel train(in writing), but I do have short stories(that's what I usually write) that may be considered YA. One where a young boy commits suicide, the main character being a helpless young girl. There are others and they are all healing for me and I'm in my thirties.

    As far as reading goes, I needed The Outsider's just as much as I needed A Tale of Two Cities. I still remember enjoying a tear after reading S. E. Hinton. :)

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    1. I'm glad you talk about writing as healing. It really fills that need for writers as well as readers. Would love to read your stories sometime!

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  6. Great post! Just popping in from the A to Z Challenge to say hello. :) The first YA book I read was "Flowers in the Attic" by V.C. Andrews. (I think that's YA!)

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    1. Ah, good ol' V.C. Andrews: the BEST covers ever! :) Thanks for visiting!

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