2011 has been a fantastic year for the Young Adult(YA) Genre. For those of you who do not know YA is literature written for, published for, or marketed to adolescents and young adults, targeted towards ages 14 to 21. Some may even say YA is for anyone that is age twelve and up. While the YA genre contains the fundamental elements of other genres; character, plot, setting, and such, common elements to other genres of fiction, theme and style appeal to the young reader.
But that is no longer the case.
Throughout my life, I have grown up reading my share of YA books. For example, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Alice in Wonderland, Great Expectations, Jungle Book, Oliver Twist, and The Swiss Family Robinson. Or be familiar with characters like Nancy Drew , the Hardy Boys, Ramona and Beezus, the Babysitters Club, or even Jessica and Elizabeth from Sweet Valley High. But like some of you, I stopped browsing the YA section of the bookstore when I “grew up.”
Then I was introduced to an amazing young man known to the world as Harry Potter. In my world of adult responsibilities and priorities, J.K. Rowling introduced this world through the eyes of an eleven year old boy. Instantly I was transformed into an eleven year old child! It didn’t stop there. I was introduced to vampires, faeries, greek gods, best friends, dragons, witches, warlocks, and everything that your younger, former self could imagine. And that, I realized has been the trend in the past five-six years. Fantasy is popular with many readers, young and old alike. Romance no longer has to be hot and steamy, allowing a balance of love and emotion through young “puppy love.” And adventures have never been more exciting through the world of mythology, mystery, or action through a pair of young adult eyes.
I, personally, credit J.K. Rowling to spark the interest in the genre. She allowed me to realize that books don’t have to be so serious, so emotional, so adult in order for me to enjoy a good book. Even though I grew up, it didn’t mean my imagination had to. Isn’t that what books are for, generally? Books allow me a chance to escape my thirty something self and feel love like it was the first time or even open my eyes to a new world of wizards and witches.
And I do not feel that I am the only one.
The media has embraced YA and brought a new life to it. To complement the books , television, movies, and even video games have brought to life the worlds that the authors write about. It adds a whole new spectrum to the imagination. Sometimes, it works in the opposite direction, allowing for the fan of the media outlet to fall in love with the books themselves.
Isn’t it a great world?
Want to read some awesome YA authors? Here are a few in my favorites list: