For a long time, I always felt that reading YA fiction was immature. I was of the misguided and judgmental opinion that YA fiction was only for kids and would therefore be written less eloquently and overall be less of a challenge. This is one of those rare occasions when I can confidently say, I was really glad to be proved wrong.
I was forced to retract my original opinion when I first read ‘Divergent’ by Veronica Roth. I loved the concept of the story and actually started reading without realising that it was a YA fiction book. I was so absorbed in that story. The characters enthralled me and I adored the way the dystopian concept was presented to the reader. It proved to me that regardless of the target audience, whether it is YA fiction or adult fiction, the language is still rich and enjoyable. ““Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it.” Veronica Roth, Divergent)
The more I read YA fiction, the more I began to realise that a lot of these stories were actually better than anything else I had read. I have always been a fan of fantasy books and dystopian thrillers but I found that I was often intrigued more by many of the stories presented in YA fiction than any other genre. So I began to wonder why this might be or even if there was any fact behind my theory.
With most books, there is usually a target audience. Unsurprisingly, YA books are aimed at young adults. Go figure! So realistically, between early to late teens. This means that content and characters will need to appeal to this age group. According to www.writersedit.com – (3 key differences between YA fiction and Adult fiction) one way that this is often done is to make the protagonist of the story the same or similar age group to the target audience. Presumably this is to make the character more relatable to the reader due to identity being such a key issue to people that age. Adulthood is generally a time where your own identity is already established and therefore reading a book with a protagonist who is the same age as you, is less important.
Another characteristic aspect of YA fiction is the theme used in the book. We have already mentioned how important it is for YA readers to have a character who is relatable and they may share some similarities with. This is also the case for the subjects covered within the book. Often (not always) you will find a protagonist within the story who is underappreciated and underestimated. We see them overcome difficult obstacles to become the hero in the book and find popularity or acceptance. This can be seen in ‘Twilight’ by Stephenie Meyer. Our protagonist, teenager Bella Swan, is a quiet misfit who struggles to fit in until she meets the family of vampires who bring adventure and friendship to her life and ultimately shape her destiny. ‘The Maze Runner’ by James Dashner is another example of this. Teenager Thomas wakes up in an unfamiliar environment and discovers a lot about himself and what he is capable of as the story unfolds. Young people (and adults alike) enjoy feeling as if there are no limits in their reality. That maybe, they could also surprise everyone and become the hero that they never knew existed inside of them.
I don’t think I would be the only one who has had their opinions of YA fiction changed over the years. It all started when J.K Rowling made YA fiction for an audience that included everyone. This can never be an easy job but she achieved this on a massive scale and created one of the biggest household names in literature the world has ever seen.
This concept is discussed on www.theatlantic.com – (Why so many adults love young adult literature) “It was popular across the board with every kind of reader you can think of. “There are a lot of people who, before Harry Potter, simply never would have considered reading a book written for children”
All of a sudden, reading YA fiction became stylish and the general consensus was that if it was acceptable to read Harry Potter, then why stop at that?
In my earlier post, I comment on the use of TikTok and the online book community. I am definitely of the opinion that this could be a positive and constructive concept for book lovers and I, for one, have found that I have been exposed to books that I may not have necessarily tried before.
I have never enjoyed reading so much as I have when feeling immersed in the carefully constructed world of Sarah J Maas’s ‘A Court Of…’ series. I have swooned like a teenager (I haven’t swooned in years!) when I pored through the pages of ‘Velvet’ by Temple West and fell in love with the intricate and diverse characters in ‘Six of Crows’ and ‘Crooked Kingdom’.
It is safe to say that I am fully converted to the world of YA Fiction and I am so glad to say that I will never turn back.