Let’s talk bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books and Dani @Literary Lion, here different topics will be discussed.
This weeks topic is ‘What makes a book YA’, which is both a difficult and interesting topic!
I seriously have no idea how to start this discussion.. So we will see how and where this goes!
I think for romance books it is mainly based on how explicit the romantic scenes are described. Which is still a bit hard to just draw a line I guess. But I think for fantasy books it is even harder?! I think it is/should be based on how gory and brutal the book is. (questioning myself here?!)
For contemporary I was thinking about the topics the book deals with. But there are so many great YA contemporary books out there that deal with difficult topics, and do it so well! (Examples; With the fire on high or Four Three Two One!)
Actually, I think in contemporary it is often the age of the main characters that decided on the YA/adult category! In YA characters are often 17-24 years or something, while for the adult contemporaries they are often older. I think because of the age of the characters books often feel like they are YA or adult. (not saying that adult books cannot have young MC!)
And I think for fantasies this is often also the case. But there are quite some adult fantasies out there that to have ‘younger’ main characters then what I mentioned before. And in those cases I think the harshness of the book really plays a role!
What of course also really plays a role is the intended audience! Which of course doesn’t mean that if a book is written for teen audience, it is only read by teen audience. I mean if you want your book to be read by a 60 year old woman, it would be a bit weird to write a book with a 18 year old male MC, since it would be hard for the reader to connect. Which doesn’t mean this 60 year old lady cannot read books about 18 year old guys!
I also think a big distinction is in the writing style! To me, in general YA books read way easier and I often fly through them quicker. Mainly about fantasy now, but I feel like world building and magic systems are often more complicated and more elaborated in adult books. Meaning I need more brain power to fully understand everything, which the means that I read slower!
Just as a side note, I feel like in adult fantasies the stakes are often way higher! And it is always more questionable if every character will survive!
This was a messy post hahah, I really struggled writing my thoughts today. I have not answered the example questions whatsoever, since I didn’t know how to answer them. But if you were curious here they are:
- Do you think some books by female authors should have been adult and were unfairly classified as YA?
- For fantasy books it is so obvious that most YA is written by women and Adult by men, I’m actually pretty curious were that comes from?!
- What are some things that definitely make a book YA for you?
- Kinda did answer this one!
- What are some YA books you think should be classified as adult and vice versa?
16 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish – What makes a book YA?”
I have noticed that there is a huge disparity in the amount of men vs. women writing adult fantasy and I honestly feel like it’s because a lot of adult fantasy written by women just ends up classified as YA because it might sell better in that section. I think there are tons of “YA” fantasies written by women with older protagonists and darker themes that COULD be on the adult shelves, but aren’t.
Yeah I’ve heard that more often.. Tbh I barely look at the author when I look for new books, just interesting title/cover and then I will read the summary! Or if I do notice the author it will be like ‘Oh I know/have read from him/her’, but I do not care about gender?! Why would gender impact the writing ability in certain genres?!
I *know* adult books by female authors sometimes get unfairly classified as YA, sometimes by bookstores and sometimes by readers and sometimes by other industry folks. It happens. I think for me the biggest thing that makes something YA is the theme–YA almost always has a theme of self-discovery. So young protagonist plus that theme makes it YA for me lol
I think that is so weird.. I’ve heard that then the book sells better, but the gender of the aurthor shouldn’t matter for how much you like the book?!
Yeah I think self-discovery is often a book theme in YA! Makes sense!
This is a great topic. I discussed this awhile back after hearing some authors talk about it. Some had issues with having sex on the page, even if it wasn’t in detail at all. But they also made the point that there are ages for YA. Not all are 13+. Some are 16+. Their book could have been NA, but I felt it fit YA well. Some people argue tough/mature topics shouldn’t be in YA. I’m not that person since I know teens do all those things. I think the writing does make a difference. Age of the characters, too. I personally like YA. When I read adult, I find there is a lot of cheating spouses and divorce. It’s just not something I enjoy reading a lot of. For me, a young adult is 16ish to 23ish. But I know in publishing, it’s different.
It is quite a difficult topic haha!
It is so hard to decide what topics are ‘too’ though or mature for a reader, since that is so different reader to reader!
In romance I often prefer YA as well, because of the cheating and divorce as well haha!
I indeed think ya is in a lower range for publishing, maybe from 13 to 18?!
This is a very interesting but also complicated topic to talk about. There are a lot of talks about what makes YA, YA, and honestly, I don’t know the answer to that too. For me I think it’s mainly based on the main character’s age and the writing style. There are books written from the point of view of children that are targeted for adult audience (Room being the first book came to my mind), but YA writing style, other than being easier, also has this kind of….. teenage nostalgia quality? I don’t think I can explain or point my finger on it, but it just has this quality that no matter what writing style (normal, verse, purple prose, etc) you just know it’s meant for YA audience.
It really was, I struggled with writing this post!
I also do think main characters age is a big part of the decision!
I do think I know what you mean, but also have no idea how to put it in words haha!
I agree about writing style! Part of why I enjoy YA is that I can read fantasy that’s quite pacy. Adult fantasy is often slower and more dense, with more complex world building. And as much as I love world building, quite often I want something that’s a bit easier to read but still has the magic I love, which is I think why I end up reading YA fantasy so often.
Indeed adult fantasy is often way slower!
World building can be difficult in adult fantasy!
This is a good topic to discuss! I don’t read much adult fantasy but I do think that more males are labeled as adult than YA, I mean Acotar could be used as an example for this!
Exactly! That one is a great example!
Interesting topic! I never really gave it much thought before, I guess I just assumed that what mattered most was the main characters’ ages and the explicitness of violence and sex scenes… However, when I look for new fantasy reads, I usually just go by whether the synopsis sounds interesting or not and don’t pay much attention whether it’s marketed as YA or adult. For some series – like Nevernight, for example – I probably couldn’t even tell you, lol. But you definitely got me thinking – especially about that discrepancy between the marketing of male and female authors’ books! I’ll have to look into that more 😉
Honestly, I also don’t pay much attention to the distinction!
I heard some booktuber talking about this discrepancy, and it really got me wondering were that comes from!
Comments are closed.