It’s NOT a genre.
I know. I know. BUT…?! ß I’m with you on that.
See, young adult is a target audience. When you write young adult (as I do) you are writing for readers between the ages of 12 and 18 or those who like to read books written for that target audience. Middle grade is a target audience. Adult is a target audience.
Fiction is a genre. A genre I write, as a matter of fact.
Wait – did you just fall asleep on me? Yep, bet you did. Fiction is a stupidly big category that tells a potential reader nothing about your work. So instead I respond that I write fantasy and contemporary fiction. But you know what? I usually qualify it by saying YOUNG ADULT fantasy and contemporary fiction. As do many readers, as referenced in the extremely informal survey, which I published last week:
Young Adult Fantasy 2
Young Adult Romance1
YA Paranormal Romance1
Young Adult 4
Coming of Age 1
|So in this example, |
what exactly does Fiction mean
that Young Adults doesn't?
I also find it interesting that even publishers ask for submissions in the young adult genre. Do they know it isn’t officially a genre? Absolutely. But as evidenced by the varied responses to my question, “What is your go-to genre?” readers consider young adult an entire category unto itself. They don’t necessarily care if it's an issues book or an urban fantasy as long as it is young adult. They want the young adult interpretation of drug abuse or fairies. They want the YA telling. Because YA has a different feel to it than its adult or middle grade counterparts. Read a paranormal book from those three different target audiences and you’ll find differences beyond the heat level of the relationships within. Middle grade will likely have a single story line. Maybe a sub plot or two, but nothing too complex. Young adult will likely have a faster pace than its adult counter part, which in my personal opinion is where YA shines. Relationships are equally complex, but the stakes are usually higher in YA (and mg, for that matter) The entire world or humanity is often threatened instead of just your family, position, personal world. So –to me, at least - identifying YA as a genre points more to the writing style of the book than the audience the book is targeting.
I’ve already admitted to being a genre dope, so please take my personal interpretations as just that – personal opinions, not official educational materials. Anyway, this is why I feel young adult is often considered a genre by readers and publishers. For those of you who are sticklers for the rules, please try to accept that in this the rules are blurred simply to define the writing style of the book in question.
What say you? Does it make you growl aloud whenever you see young adult listed as a genre or do you get it? Or perhaps you don’t even care? Let’s hear your personal opinions on the blurring of genre definitions.
If you missed them last week, please visit Katie Carroll's post on YA in genre and Kristine Hall's post on exploding genres. Both GREAT posts directly related to my meandering thoughts.