3 So, what is YA Lit? Young-adult fiction Although YA literature shares the fundamental elements of character, plot, setting, theme, and style common to other genres of fiction, theme and style are often subordinated to the more tangible basic narrative elements such as plot, setting, and character, which appeal more readily to younger readers. The vast majority of YA stories portray an adolescent as the protagonist, rather than an adult or a child.
4 What is YA Literature? Definition #1: YA literature refers to books written specifically for a teenage audience. The books usually have a young protagonist and present that young person dealing with issues that other young people all face (belonging, falling in love, or deciding what to do in the future, for example) or issues that young people are afraid they may have to face (violence, drug dependency, alcoholism, being alone, death of a loved one, pregnancy, or divorce of parents). HIGH SCHOOL CONNECTIONS: YA: FAQ (We're Glad You Asked!), ALAN Review, 27, no. 2 (Fall 2000)
5 What is YA Literature? Definition #2: YA literature is anything young adults are reading of their own free will. Teenagers vary widely in their reading interests. Definition #3: YA literature is any book marketed as YA by a publisher. Sometimes the classification of a book as YA seems arbitrary. YA: FAQ (We're Glad You Asked!)
7 Derogatory views As a genre it has been referred to as: ‘Adult Lite’, not a real book a genre not in its own right, a step up to adult books (Aronson, p. 19) novels for slow learners books just about sex and drugs, dysfunctional families and dropping out, and a ‘sub-literature’ not worthy of discussion, especially in the class room (England and Mertz, p. 119). Developing a love of reading: why young adult literature is important
8 Carte Blanche What Is Young-Adult Literature? Does anyone any longer know what we mean by the term young-adult literature? Not so long ago, I would have said, without too much fear of contradiction, that it meant books for readers from 12 to 18 years old. But, over the course of the last several years, the term has grown so restlessly expansive that it now seems to embrace titles for readers as young as 10 and (arguably) as old as 35. http://murrayyalit.org/WhatIsYALiterature.pdf
9 Cart’s evolution of YA Lit Books for readers from 12 to 18 years old Expansion of YA to include the 10 to14 age range
Roots in the middle-school movement of the late 1980s
Inclusion of the 19 to 35 range, at the other end of the demographic
a newer, more market-driven phenomenon that is related, I would argue, to the ongoing shift of the YA market from the institutional to the retail
10 Content of this evolution? The traditional YA literature of the 1970s Crossover fiction, novels, that is, with multigenerational appeal They’re typically written by young authors, usually in their twenties; they're often first novels or novels presented in the form of the currently fashionable collection of linked stories. Their protagonists may be teens, but just as often they are in their twenties. Coming-of-age or rite-of-passage issues drive their plots. And, perhaps most importantly, they are published as adult novels.
11 Why define YA Lit, then? Selecting books for young adults is difficult. [Young adults] read for information and for pleasure. They read to escape the confines of their own lives, and to better understand their world. Gender, age, and personal reading preferences influence young adults’ book selections. Some young adults select books published especially for their age level; others select books published for adults. Young adults may read a novel because of its plot, theme, style, or other literary characteristics. A Portrait of Popularity:An Analysis of Characteristics of Novels from Young Adults’ Choices for 1997, ALAN Review, 27, no. 2 (Fall 1999) by Rosemary Chance
12 Chance’s study YA’s tend to choose “character-driven” novels: protagonists are round and dynamic, . . . well developed the majority of the novels have conflict that centers on people, person-against-self and person-against-person protagonists tell their stories from first person point of view backdrop settings illuminate character the major thematic idea is becoming self-aware and responsible for one's own life.
13 Characteristics of YA Lit YAL involves a teenage protagonist and often reflects and interprets their views YAL is fast-paced. Generally, its dialogue is direct and confrontational, and the language is sparse YAL includes a variety of genres, themes and subjects YAL is basically optimistic, or at least hopeful