Zi71bFS9nQHnivtvUJquhejTHIQ The Story Factory Reading Zone: Y is for YA

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Y is for YA

What does YA mean?

Oxford dictionary online says:


Pronunciation: /jÉ™, ja/

pronoun & possessive determiner

non-standard spelling of you or your, used to represent informal or US pronunciation.

But, as all readers will know YA also stands for Young Adult, and is used in relation to fiction writing.
So, who is a young adult. Again, I turn to Oxford dictionary online:

young adult offender



(in the UK) a criminal from 18 to 20 years of age.

OK no definition of young adult, but it does tell us that UK law says a young adult is between 18 and 20 years old. However, if this was the age-range expected for YA Fiction then it would have a very small market indeed. In the Methodist Church of England young adults are 18 to 23 year old, so a slightly larger age-range.
Wikipedia says:
The Young Adult Library Services (YALSA) of the American Library Association (ALA) defines a young adult as someone between the ages of twelve and eighteen. Authors and readers of young adult (YA) novels often define the genre as literature as traditionally written for ages ranging from twelve years up to the age of eighteen, while some publishers may market young adult literature to as low as age ten or as high as age twenty-five.

So, as we can see, the age-range that YA applies to is widely disputed. 

Then, why are adults often so reluctant to admit to reading 'YA' books? Is it because they're thinking that it could be read by 12 year olds? And does that necessarily make them unappropriate for adults as well? Personally, I think a good book will appeal to all ages whether or not it was originally designed for them.

That's why I'm quite happy to read YA literature, and may not even realise that it is in some cases. How about you?

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