Towards a definition of "YA" (was Re: Mark Haddon (no significant spoillers))

Sally Odgers sodgers at
Sun Feb 22 19:05:55 EST 2004

Nor will saying what YA *isn't* meant
> to be, because that doesn't say what it is, it just tightens the
> round it very slightly with each example.  What I'm after is what it
> actually means.

In Australia, YA is a book at the upper edge of children's literature. It
comes above SCB (Senior Chater Book). It is particularised by characters who
are functionally teenagers, and who approach life in a funtionally
teenagerish way. They are seen from the inside, and the author looks at them
almost as if s/he were also a teenager.

I had cause to consider this recently when an author sent me a ms that
mentioned a school hall "seething with adolescent angst". That's an adult
view of teenagers. In YA the viewpoint character(s), whether first person or
not, will have their emotions/ ideals/ concerns treated seriously, even if
they're shown to be incorrect.


'Enough, thou garrulous garnish!' - Becca of Braveria.

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