Recently I found myself breaking down the Young Adult (or YA) genre, mostly to focus my own thoughts and figure out just what makes a novel YA in the first place *grins*. And these are some points I came up with:
- Relatability – The story, its characters (especially an MC), the world, etc. need to be something a YA audience can relate to. And this doesn’t always mean that every novel written about kids/teens falls under YA either – Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game and Nicholas Sparks’ The Last Song center around children and teens (respectively), but are filed under sci-fi and general fiction (respectively).
- Romance – This doesn’t have to be the typical meaning (like the romance genre). It can be, but if that kind of romance isn’t a part of the story, then it might have to do with heroism or idealizing a certain subject (Cornelia Funke’s The Thief Lord deals with the romance of thievery).
- The “Journey” – The point where your MC starts at the beginning, and where he/she ends up (through trials/tribulations/self-
growth) at the end. This is present in any novel of course, but it’s especially important for YA because kids/teens place so much emphasis on specific events in their life. Kind of like that quote from the movie, 17 Again:
“I know that when you’re young, it feels like the end of the world. But it’s not. It’s only the beginning.”
Photo Credit: Peter Sheik