Friday, September 11, 2009

So YOU think you know what YA is?!

The main topic of discussion for the first week or so of class was very simple...what exactly is YA literature? Is it books catered to young adult readers? its it books simply about teenagers? This question was and STILL is very puzzling to me. I think to answer this question you have to know what age is considered "young adult"? This term is ever changing. Is it a chronological number like 12-17? Does it have to do with each individual and their own situation? These are all questions that I wonder about as I sit in this class everyday.

From browsing the YA section at the St. Louis Public Library conveniently located on Vandavender and Kingshighway, I think I have come up with the answer. Yes! I have solved something that has been a controversy in this subject for years and years. YES! I have solved something even the experts have yet to figure out. A young adolescent book isn't about catering to a specific age group (12-19) but more so situations younger adults ma be inte
rested in reading about. (Sounds confusing?! Well, I agree but for the sake of this blog I will continue.)

As I'm glancing over the books in the "YA" section in the library I see no common denominator. The authors all are different ages and the subject matters range from a 15 girl who gets her first kiss, to a 14 year old mom, to teen murder. I think to myself, "How can you shelve all these books in one category?" The answer didn't hit me right
away, but it is simple. They are all books that young adults may not be able to relate to but are situations that they can fathom would be true. If i were a publisher I think it would be rather difficult to deem a book YA and have to explain to the author why their book has been categorized for young adults instead of "regular" adults. I feel like authors who intend for their books to be for adult audiences aim towards a more sophisticated style of writing, and when
the publisher says it's YA they feel like their writing is not mature enough.
I remember reading in one of the articles how its GREAT for a child to wander in the adult section at the library, but if an adult reads from the YA
section their are viewed in a negative light.

I guess all in all I still don't know the answer to the question, "What makes a book YA?"

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