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

deborah deborah at
Mon Feb 23 13:56:04 EST 2004

On Mon, 23 Feb 2004, Melissa Proffitt wrote:
|My answer would have to be that "young adult" refers to a type of literature
|that describes and celebrates the young adult experience, from the
|perspective of one actually living it.
|Not all teenagers read young adult books.  Not all teenagers find them
|relevant.  Many of them do, of course, and the primary readership of YA
|fiction is teens, but it's not because someone thought such books were
|appropriate; it's because those teens see something in YA fiction that
|resonates with them.  But so do many adults.  Young adult fiction is ABOUT
|young adults, not FOR young adults.

Oh, exactly.

|The category name is unfortunate.  The category
|is not.

What an excellent point.  The name is descriptive of a` type of fiction
in exactly the same way that "romance" is descriptive of a type of
fiction.  It's just a genre name like any other, which unfortunately
creates an illusion of readership.  Which explains my strange tension
about how it is a descriptive name which has nothing to do with actual
young adults -- the name describes a genre, not a set of readership.

Oh, perfect.

I myself have never been able to find out precisely what
feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist
whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a
doormat, or a prostitute.  	-- Rebecca West, 1913

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