Young adult readers are one of the largest groups of fiction readers. Despite targeting teenagers, about half of young adult readers are in fact adults. Spanning all the same sub-genres as adult fiction, young adult fiction however differs, by drawing upon themes relating to teenage life.
What is Young Adult Fiction?
Young adult fiction (YA) is a genre that sits between children’s and adult fiction. It is aimed at 12 to 18 year old’s but has a large readership amongst adults too. Young adult fiction is intended to reflect its teenage audience, so its protagonist is usually aged 14 to 18 years old. The subject matter of young adult fiction thus revolves around themes relating to teenage life such as coming of age, first love, school life, relationships, friendships and identity.
Common Elements of Young Adult Fiction
- The Protagonist – The protagonist is nearly always a teenager. However, other characters of any age can be present too.
- Themes – YA fiction often includes the same themes as adult fiction. The way those themes are explored are through the lens of a teenager. Some themes present in adult fiction such as violence, relationships and sex can still be present in young adult fiction but will be toned down fit the younger demographic.
- Language – As a bridging genre between children’s and adult fiction, the language used in YA fiction is advanced but easily readable for people aged 12 to 18 years old. The language in some adult fiction genres such as classics, typically won’t be present in YA fiction.
- The Voice – Teenagers experience life differently from adults and have different thoughts, concerns and motivations. As most YA fiction is written by adults, the story’s voice needs to authentically represent the teenage experience of the protagonist.
- Length – Young adult novels are usually between 60,000 to 100,000 words in length.
The Best Young Adult Books
- Adam Exitus by Nicholas Abdilla
- Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
- Divergent by Veronica Roth
- Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- Eragon by Christopher Paolini
- City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- The Giver by Lois Lowry
- The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
- Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
- A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket