Towards a definition of "YA"

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Tue Feb 24 15:38:26 EST 2004

On Tue, 24 Feb 2004 11:53:45 -0800 (PST), Jon Noble wrote:

>--- minnow at wrote:

>> How about "Growth Fiction"?  Or "Youth Fiction"?  To
>> go with Science
>> Fiction and Historical Fiction and Romantic Fiction
>> and all the rest of the
>> genres?  Some word that isn't so firmly linked to an
>> age of person, and
>> more to a type of work?
>How would that be different from a Bildungsroman,
>which is not, I realise, a term often used by
>booksellers? It is not the same thing as YA but there
>is a huge crossover. I just tried googling these terms
>as bildungsroman has some 24,000 hits, YA fiction over
>6000 and "young adult fiction" 66,000. So on the web,
>at least, the term is still widely used.

Bildungsroman is a critical term rather than a bookseller term, and from
what I can tell, it's used in lit crit to mean any "coming of age" story
regardless of genre.  It is a fun word to use in conversation if you can
work it in.  But that would explain why booksellers don't generally use it
any more than they group science fiction into "space exploration" and "time
travel" and "first contact."  (Though I think such groupings could be very
useful.  Sometimes I really do want a particular kind of SF.)

Melissa Proffitt

To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at

More information about the Dwj mailing list