I have been thinking about this topic for quite a while, but I haven’t really made a post about it. I guess I was afraid people would take this post the wrong way? I want to say that I am not bashing YA books, or its readers. I read books marketed as YA often too, so I have absolutely no problem with the books themselves. What I do have a bit of an issue with, is the fact that it’s named YA (young adult). Hear me out.
Apparently, according to the American Library Association defines the YA category as aged between 12 and 18. That is absolutely ridiculous to me. I would classify that as “teen fiction”. However, I guess that doesn’t sound as great? To start my reasoning as to why this should be called teen fiction, I’ll show you some definitions.
Adult: A person who is fully grown or developed or of age; a person who has attained the age of maturity as specified by law.
That right there says it all. A young adult is in fact an adult. A person who recently became an adult. To me, this should mean that young adult should be categorized as 18-25 (or so). Because that’s when you are of age, in the eyes of the law, and you need to start making the most important decisions of your life.
You decide what you want to study. Which job you want. How to apply for jobs. How to live on your own. How to do the washing without shrinking or dying anything by accident. How to stay organized. Basically, how to adult. You need to learn all these things, because before you were most likely living with your parent(s).
Being a young adult is about figuring out things on your own. And I know that high school can be a lot of work and stress. You won’t hear me deny that. But it’s NOT the same thing! Don’t get me wrong, but in modern society, there isn’t a single 13 year old who would be classified as a young adult. Gone are the days when you are an adult at 13 because you are married off at that age. You can’t do that anymore, because it’s against the law. Why? Because you are still a minor, and thus not an adult.
I am now 21 years old. Although I’ll be turning 22 in September. I am about to graduate university. I have to start looking for jobs, and afterwards, a place to live. If I move countries, I’ll have to figure out all that paperwork. When I read a contemporary YA book, I want to read about women and men who are going through the same things. Yet I never can while reading YA, because that has now turned into teen fiction.
Please don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against what I’d call teen fiction. It’s just so frustrating to me that the only times I can really read about someone my own age in contemporaries, it’s in a “new adult” book. I like new adult. I do. But it’s usually about dramatic relationships and sex. Why can’t we have the YA topics too? We are also trying to figure out our lives!
I am going to stop now before I write 10 pages. I’m just so angry about feeling forgotten. The adult fiction usually stars people from age 30-35+, and young adult barely ever reaches 18. Where are the 20-somethings? What do we get?
What do you think about this? Do you feel like the categorization is right, or do you think teen fiction is a better word for it?