What’s YA?

From What YA Lit is and isn’t by Mary Pearson:

Who writes [Young Adult literature]?

People like me. People who find the teen years fascinating and the nuances of teen literature a challenge. I am not writing it as “practice” so I can one day write an adult book (I am asked that a lot.) Young adult books are not a lesser, watered-down version of adult books. They are not any easier or harder to read than adult books and they are certainly not any easier to write. They are just different. Just as with adult books, some teen books are easy and breezy and meant to be that way, and others, like Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, or Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan, are complex and mulit-layered. They can offer social commentary, as with The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, or The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E. Lockhart, while being immensely entertaining at the same time. They can examine our flaws and failures and our hopes and dreams in quiet, elegant prose as in Thursday’s Child by Sonya Hartnett, or with fun, quippy prose as in Repossessed by A.M. Jenkins.

The bottom line?

The bottom line is that YA books are not meant to raise children. They are everything any adult book is. They are entertainment. They are a place to see ourselves. They are a place to get lost for a few hours. They are a place to make us think and wonder and imagine. They are a place to evoke anger, disagreement, discussion, and maybe tears. Books have no other responsibility than not to make the reader hate reading.

5 responses to “What’s YA?”

  1. Zara Avatar

    Love this. A lot.

  2. Jon Avatar

    I always found that the best YA novels are those that don’t talk down to teens, like the quote, “they are a place to make us think and wonder and imagine.” I have to say, YA gets a bad rap, but I’d still rather read “I Stay near You” by M.E. Kerr than any Grisham thriller any day of the week.

    The best YA novels take teenagers’ lives and treat them with the gravity and respect that adults rarely allow them.

    Good luck with yours.
    .-= • Recent post by Jon: Friends, Writing, and a Job =-.

  3. Kristan Avatar

    Thanks and thanks. :)

  4. Todd Newton Avatar

    I can’t even read YA… much less work up the gumption to attempt writing it… I like my violence and sex too much, I guess.
    .-= • Recent post by Todd Newton: How to Write: Succinctly =-.

  5. Kristan Avatar

    Haha, well, according to the full article, you can have violence and sex in YA. But yeah, it’s not for everyone. I think the point is: nothing is! :D