Who Is Young Adult?

So, after all this time, what really is a young adult?

In my opinion, the ambiguity of the phrase is an important one. And, after some reflection, a personal one. At nineteen, I feel particularly connected not just with the genre itself, but also where it is going.

[Read more…]

From Teenager to Crossover

I ended my last post with a quote about labels. Labels, really, are the heart of the YA conundrum, especially reconciling all the discordant aspects of the market. What Young Adult has been, what it is now, whom it includes and whom it doesn’t (or shouldn’t or hasn’t or can’t) are all at once so polar and polarizing that one begins to wonder if a real definition exists at all.

[Read more…]

Is Age Just a Number?

As a culture, we really like birthdays. Though we may deny it on the outside, I think deep down we all expect—or at least hope—for some Cinderella magic the moment our clocks go from 11 to 12. It’s the difference of a few seconds, the rearranging of a few numbers on our phone screens, but it’s a new day, and now you’re a new person.

[Read more…]

Abstract: Who is Young Adult? The Ever-Expanding Genre

Within the past twenty years alone, the Young Adult book market has experienced revolutionary success, garnering movie deals, media attention, and readership like never before. Yet antithetical to its massive worldwide audience is the market’s name, which appears to cater only to a limited few. The term “Young Adult” far from encompasses the range of readers that support this genre, the majority of whom are over the age of eighteen. Additionally, the phrase is ambiguous at best when used to describe the characters and subject matters the market contains, which blur indistinguishably at each end with those that exist on its borders—Middle Grade and General Fiction. For these reasons, the Young Adult market exists in a paradox of definition, where those who are its biggest supporters do not necessarily belong to the demographic it targets. Because of these ambiguities the questions then arise: what is a Young Adult book, and who is a Young Adult reader? With my research, I intend to create a definition for the market that incorporates its diverse range of readership and content. Along the way, I will discern the essential characteristics of the genre and derive the qualities that make a seemingly limited market into an age-defying phenomenon.