What is a YA Novel & Why you’ve been missing out!
Young Adult books are my absolute favorite books of all time. I cannot express the utter joy that fills my heart when I see my favorite Young Adult (YA) author announce a new book that will be coming out soon.
This type of genre caters to individuals between the ages of 16/17 – Late 20’s.
In addition, this expansive book genre is the umbrella to many other genres like; young adult fantasy, young adult mystery and young adult thriller.
Today let’s talk about what exactly is a young adult book. Why has this specific book genre taken the world by storm, and how come it’s one of the most read genres thus-far?
What is YA Fiction?
The big question of today; What is YA fiction?
Young Adult fiction (YA) is a book genre that caters to a younger demographic than adults. The books under this term have less explicit content than Adult novels, but more than Teen Fiction.
It’s common for individuals to mix up the difference between Teen and Young Adult books. The most important thing to remember is that Teen books tend to have little explicit language throughout, while Young Adult books might have some.
I have noticed that some Teen books try to cover-up explicit language with their own words which is rather hilarious like; flapjacks instead of f*ck.
Nothing quite like reading a book where the protagonist in battle yells “FLAPJACKS!” instead of “F*ck! We’re screwed!”
Young Adult books also cover heavier topics like suicide, PTSD and depression.
Which, lets be honest, tends to be something books barely go over even though mental health is something many people suffer from.
These books also include more mature language and are longer books themselves.
Here’s Why I Love YA Books
I will be the first to admit when it comes to reading new YA books, I would stampede through a crowded Barnes and Noble.
Many times I have openly stated how much I adore this genre, and how just recently I have ventured into the dark forest that is New Adult books.
New Adult books are the moody “I hate you mom! I’m old enough to be an adult” genre. But right now, let’s discuss why I cannot fully express how much YA novels mean to me.
The genre in my opinion is one of the best balances of mature content and explicit language. It’s no secret curse words exist and I feel the way characters express themselves in YA books are more believable that Teen books.
Instead of masking their feelings or sexual desires in YA books, they’re shown. This is an incredibly pivotal type of genre to look into reading for the first time.
If you’re not sure if reading something new, especially a new genre, is your cup of tea – I’ve written out 8 amazing reasons you should reconsider this!
What are the Differences Between YA Fiction and Adult Fiction?
One of the most interesting things you will find when searching ‘What is a YA novel’ is a ridiculous amount of misconception of this genre compared to it’s eldest sibling, Adult fiction.
Let me be clear YA books may be a bit rebellious with its content, but Adult is …well, ADULT content.
It may be useful to know as well if you go to your local bookstore and see a very attractive shirtless man on the cover, perhaps merely wearing a necktie…that book is most likely an Adult novel.
Your 17 year old daughter wouldn’t want to read 500 pages of pure adult content.
1. In YA Fiction, The novels protagonist/s are usually 18 and under
Though not always the case, in many times the protagonist tends to be a younger age to cater to the Young Adult demographic.
For example, in the book Fable by Adrienne Young our main protagonist is a teen girl struggling to survive on the island.
Yes, it would of been interesting to see a full-grown adult woman struggle to survive on an abandoned island – but it doesn’t properly cater to the young adult audience.
2. The voice & POV of a Young Adult book is written Through the eyes of a Young Adult often in the First Person
The POV, also known as Point of View, is the view of the novel itself. In many Young Adult books books tend to be written in first person. This is the format in which “I” is used.
This encompasses the audience much more than Third person. It also helps to engage you on the adventure of whatever the character is embarking on.
Personally, I would prefer to read a book about an awesome female lead kicking butt in a Dystopian society from her exact POV than watching her from a “god-like” POV.
3. The overall tone & theme of a YA book is dialed down in comparison to Adult Fiction (ie. No Graphic Violence or Explicit Sex Scenes)
I’ve said this many times, and will continue to bellow it from the top of any building you put me on; YA is dialed down in terms of mature content than Adult books.
So if you’re worried your daughter is venturing into a new genre of reading material called YA books – don’t worry! Because now you know its dialed down compared to more explicit books genres.
Common Misconceptions about YA Novels
Let’s bust some common YA novel misconceptions.
The internet, though filled with an abundance of fun cat videos, is also full of lies of what exactly this genre is. And can you believe these lies are told from ADULTS? Not even Young Adults like myself!
I’m 22 – so I still clarify as young adult!
1. Tweens & Teens are the only ones that read YA
This is untrue! Adults and New Adults can also read this book genre.
Truth be told, anyone who’s able to read can read YA books. Probably not the family dog though…unless you taught him how to read!
2. The writing in YA is bad, dumbed-down even in comparison to adult fiction
This is one of the most heartbreaking misconceptions of YA novels.
The writing in YA novel is incredibly well addressed and beautifully written. The content is not dumbed down, it’s a small approach at large issues young adults are just learning about.
These issues range from social and economical to mental health!
3. The theme/plots of young adult novels are immature
Ugh, this misconception gets me all fired up!
The plots of Young Adult books are far from immature. Instead I would say they are imaginative.
Like the plot of Cassandra Clare’s series The Mortal Instruments – who wouldn’t want to fight demons by night and create lasting friendships during the day!
What is the difference between YA and Na (New Adult)?
New Adult is the middle child of the family. Young Adult is the carefree tween, but New Adult (NA) is the more serious sibling.
Yeah she knows what sex is and has had her first kiss. Don’t judge Miss. New Adult!
Truth is, New Adult is a newer genre that has been put in place as a middle ground between YA and Adult books. It has mature content, but not as much as Adult books.
Can adults read YA novels?
Definitely! I don’t see why Adults can’t read YA novels. I believe these genres are put in place more so for our younger friends who don’t want to read books with a lot of rough language in it.
Why do so many adults read YA?
I believe Young Adult genre is a comfort genre for many. It’s where a lot of more popular and trending books tend to lay especially on platforms like Tiktok and Instagram.
In this article on Book Riot, an adult reader explains more in-depth why they prefer YA books.
Best YA Books/Series to get started with!
To help you jump into this new genre, here is a short list of some of my favorite Young adult books you might just fall in love with.
Don’t forget, if you end up loving one of these books to share your thoughts with me! I’m always looking for more bookworm friends.
- The Mortal Instruments (7 book series) by Cassandra Clare
- Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco – Here’s a SPOILER-FREE review
- Fable by Adrienne Young
- The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
- Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Now that you know what a YA novel is and how it differs from adult fiction it’s time to get reading and decided for yourself what you think of the Young Adult genre
Would you consider reading a YA novel if you have not already? Let me know in the comments!