I’ve been updating my “Books Read in 2008” list. But I realized that I haven’t really spotlighted any of my recent reviews. So, for your reading pleasure:
These are all YA novels.
There’s an article in the NY Times today called “I’m Y.A. and I’m O.K.” talking about the hazards of having a book labeled as Young Adult. As many of you know, I write YA reviews for the Paperspine blog. I sometimes have a difficult time deciding what is and what is not YA fiction. Some books that are considered YA, I read it and think “That was only YA if you’re thinking of ‘young’ adults as in an adult who is younger, like 18 – 22 or something.” Some “adult fiction” I wonder “Wait… why wasn’t this listed as YA?” Authors are afraid to be listed as YA because it hurts sales but, as mentioned in the NY Times article:
Many adults don’t realize how much the Y.A. genre has changed since their days of reading teenage romances and formulaic novels. “A lot of people have no idea that right now Y.A. is the Garden of Eden of literature,” said Sherman Alexie, whose first Y.A. novel, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” won the National Book Award for young people’s literature last year. Even the prestige of that award didn’t make him impervious to the stigma. “Some acquaintances felt I was dumbing down,” Alexie said in a phone interview. “One person asked me, ‘Wouldn’t you have rather won the National Book Award for an adult, serious work?’ I thought I’d been condescended to as an Indian — that was nothing compared to the condescension for writing Y.A.”
I have to say that some of the BEST books I’ve read have been YA books. In fact, some of the more popular books amongst book bloggers – and even non-book-blogging adults are YA – see also the Harry Potter books, the Twilight books, even The Book Thief.
I understand why they separate these books out as YA… sort of. But, it does sometimes make for a frustrating experience when I’m looking for a book – on two counts, actually. The first frustration is trying to figure out where my book might be. These things aren’t really “advertised” as young adult, so sometimes I’m in the “adult” section, get frustrated, go to some sort of “help desk” only to be told that the book is YA. The second frustration comes from the fact that, in a bookstore, I am a browser. I want all my fiction books to be in one place. Apparently, I’m an anomaly because most bookstores and libraries are set up with “romance” sections, “sci-fi” sections, “mystery” sections, and, yes, “young adult” sections. Very frustrating.
But, mostly, I’m curious about why there’s such a negative perception STILL about YA? And how do you define what IS and what ISN’T YA?