Discussion Time!

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by the amazing Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion! This week’s topic is The Popularity of YA. Interesting, huh? Kudos to Ruqs @ Many Things (Not Just) Bookish for suggesting such a great topic!

This is my first time doing Let’s Talk Bookish, so I hope I do okay!

I shall now uncork the bottle of my thoughts and shower it over this blank page…

POOF. WHOOSH.

Hopefully my thoughts have manifested well on this page!

Overall Opinions

I do like reading in this genre, and there are many fantastic YA novels out there. I enjoy how YA tries to bridge the gap between the genres of MG (middle grade) and Adult. These days, it’s increasingly difficult to find books and even films and TV shows that are at a near perfect point between MG and Adult. YA books are also great ways to promote more diverse casts and raise awareness of social and global issues.

I think that was the original intent of YA. However, I feel that currently, more of it is inclined toward the Adult genre, relying too heavily on mature language and terms to strengthen the story. I feel that this is not the right way to go about the YA genre. Some readers like myself are flocking to it in the hopes of finding books that are at our age level and interesting, but are disappointed by the overdose of maturity we are presented with. I’m sure we all have differing opinions on this, but these are mine.

YA Pros

Early this August, I read The Henna Wars, and was blown away by its storytelling, character dynamics, and how it tackled so many important issues in a friendly-to-teen way. I hope more YA books (namely, contemporaries) can address essential topics while still keeping a light tone and appropriate content. I tend to be a very picky reader, and I almost always choose substance over style (this does not mean I don’t want style at all, but I want more substance than style). I tend to enjoy novels with strong themes and thought provoking questions than books that are more bubbly and cheesy. And I feel that this set of standards can be really well done by YA books, because the authors are mainly speaking to readers who are in the age of growing up, learning about themselves and the world, and beginning to shape into an adult.

YA Cons

YA contemporary, fantasy, romance, and dystopian are all skyrocketing genres. Look no further than The Hunger Games, Divergent, and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. This is not a bad thing — after all, I read The Hunger Games and it was an interesting read. However, with the genres of romance and some high level fantasy, sometimes inappropriate content is explored far too much for the book to ever be called YA. I’m mainly talking about romance on more toxic levels. Sure, as a reader, you could just skip that part of the book, but the fact that it’s there and might accidentally be stumbled upon by younger eyes remains.

Thus, I feel that other genres can be a much safe route for YA. Personally, I enjoy sci-fi best, but it does sometimes get rather heavy and dense. Certain contemporaries can be excellent, and some historical fiction can be profound. I haven’t read lots of mysteries yet, but the few I’ve read so far seem pretty good — of course, there may be violence and such, so it’s best to choose wisely!

YA transcends the age barrier in some ways. I think that it would be perfect for adults, but not necessarily so for younger readers, even if they are mature. Several websites and book bloggers out there include content/trigger warnings when reviewing novels, which I think is a great way to help readers determine the types of tropes and content they are comfortable with.

Before I sign off, I’ll end on a lighter note!

Maggie, one of my wonderful new blogger friends, designed the collage below for me! Isn’t it pretty? If you haven’t already, please check out her blog and give her a follow. She’s so sweet and amazing!!

So…that’ll be all for today! I hope you were able to relate to some of the content from this post. If not, please keep this a friendly and respectful environment! I understand my opinions may differ from yours, and I respect that, so please do the same for me.

11 Comments

  1. Welcome to LTB!

    I totally agree that YA is veering towards more adult territory. I think this is largely why I continue to enjoy it. I wouldn’t be opposed to books being properly labelled though. If more YA stories that are mature were labelled adult I would still gladly read them, and then I could avoid picking up the books that veered more middle grade.

    There’s definitely a uptick in books being labelled YA when they’re not appropriate for teens – why are publishers scared to promote things as adult fiction? I promise I’ll still love the same series even if you don’t promote them as YA. I was glad to see ACOTAR get this treatment recently even if the new covers were ugly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dani! Thank you so much for stopping by 😀

      While I don’t read Adult (because I’m too young 😂) I do agree that marketing a book as Adult won’t mean that it won’t find readers. It just makes it so much easier for audiences in general to decide which age group they’re comfortable with. YA is geared more towards teens, and of course adults can read them, but not necessarily the other way around with teens and Adult books.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. great post, eleanor! i definitely agree that sometimes ya can be a little too “much” for readers of age. i think there needs to be more of a clarification on what is “upper” and “lower” ya, honestly. grouping the entire age range of 13-18 (or 13-19) as ya can lead to a lot of problems like these where content geared towards older teens shouldn’t be read by younger teens, but are technically still part of the same age group! so i guess for me it’s less about the content and about how it’s being marketed/labeled haha (though i do think there are books who have labels like “for readers ages 12-14” or something like that, which is good!) ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi May! Thank you so much for stopping by 😊 I agree, how a book is marketed is really important too. It’s always great if the book provides an age rating, like 12-14 as you said, and it helps a lot! I think Amazon even provides grade level for some books. Goodreads categorizations are also pretty accurate, so it’s good that we have these statistics available!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Eleanor! Welcome to LTB :)) I apologize for taking forever to comment but I absolutely loved reading it!
    I agree with everything you said. YA is supposed to transcend that wild age group between middle grade and Adult, and sometimes it does a good job, and at other times, it fails miserably. I think this could be avoided if we had a distinction between upper and lower YA. Sometimes, all this heavy content that we find in YA is something that older teens are prepared to read, but it’s definitely not for younger readers. But because of the broad grouping, it’s marketed towards younger teenagers as well who aren’t always ready.
    Hopefully, things will change, and maybe we’ll get a better distinction between upper and lower YA. Great post ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not late at all! Thanks for taking the time to read my post, Rukky!! Definitely, having that distinction would improve the situation a lot. What a 16 or 17 year old is able to read is not necessarily what a 13 or 14 year old should read…I read an article that said that just because younger readers are mature enough to read these higher works doesn’t necessarily mean they should…I think just taking the time to point out a book’s targeted age group and content warnings would be SO helpful. Thanks again for stopping by and leaving a bottle of thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I totally get what you mean about YA fiction! I found in my browsing of the young adult section of my library that most of the books I thought looked the most interesting still leaned toward adult readers. It’s as if the authors couldn’t tone down their writing and think about what a younger audience NEEDS to read, not WANTS to read. But it is challenging – how do you write a story your readers can relate to, without making the hard parts of life a focus or encourage different behaviors? There’s a fine line and few authors I’ve found are able to write uplifting, enjoyable YA fiction.
    I usually find myself enjoying lighthearted adult fiction and some juvenile fiction written several years ago! There are some great stories intended for children but still make a great resource or reading experience 😊💜
    I’m late commenting on this post but I’m so happy you liked the collage I made!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely, you phrased it so well Maggie! It is — especially since a lot of authors are adults, so it may be harder for them to better embody the voice of a child or young teen character. There are some really great YA books out there, they can just be hard to find — but so many bloggers provide amazing recommendations 😀 Not late at all, of course I love the collage, it’s so pleasant and relaxing to look at!! Thank you for commenting, I loved seeing what you thought!!!!

      Like

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