Why YA Isn’t Just For YA Anymore

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There has been plenty of discussion over the last few years about YA (Young Adult) Fiction in the mainstream.

It’s not necessarily a new thing as Mark Twain was writing about characters like Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer a century before we got Hogwards and Hunger Games.

In the 21st Century, we’ve seen an entire market grow out of the Young Adult genre. Of course Harry Potter was the catalysts for the massive appeal to teen fiction and that was quickly followed by Twilight and The Hunger Games, mainly due to their big budget blockbuster movie adaptations.

Now, every movie studio has rushed to find the next big thing in YA Fiction but unfortunately not all have worked. While the book series is still highly popular and regarded, the film version of The Divergent Series is woefully panned and the Percy Jackson franchise just never got off the ground. Even classics like Narnia were cut short.

Still, the literary world finds heavy profit in people reading YA Fiction. New series are out all the time, new authors from both the traditional and indie sides are finding audiences around the world who can’t get enough of reading about teenagers going on adventures or having love affairs.

And just why is that?

There are a number of factors but the main one these days is nostalgia. Most well-adjusted adults fondly remember their teenage years when they had no bills, didn’t have to go to work every day, and when the world was new and fresh in their eyes. It’s a safe place, where dangers aren’t all that dangerous and ideals seem monumentally important.

Nearly 50% of the young adult fiction audience is over the age of 30. While this is a surge, again it really isn’t anything new.

The best reason however is that the writing is not “dumbed down”. There was a period of time when fiction for teens and young adults was seen as something that had to be watered down, sanitized, and rinsed to a point of blandness. We don’t think of youth as that fragile anymore in this respect. Generation X has always had a fondness for the teenage years, we were marketed that message when we ourselves were that age, and never really let go of the fascination with being at the end of childhood and on the cusp of adulthood.

As long as the stories remain solid and the writing is captivating, YA Fiction should enjoy a lengthy run as being one of the most sought after genres for readers.

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