Tuesday, December 4, 2012


On Friday, I posted a piece about confining Young Adult Literature into the box of an age level as opposed to a genre. I talked a little bit about my YA, and how it embodies works which deal with essential adolescent experiences first and foremost, although many of the titles within this category include works which were primarily created for a specific age level of reader.

I veer away from the age-level definition of YA because using age limits as constraining characteristics of the genre dictate whom the works are for, as opposed to what the works are about.

Any other genre of novel is about something, as opposed to being for someone.

So let's talk about what my YA is about, in a macroscopic sense.

Micro-viewers like Meghan Cox Gurdon may fixate on language, sexuality, or the testing of boundaries--all of which are components of essential and universal adolescent experiences, but, aside from those triggers of righteous outrage, it is possible to have an academic discussion of what makes YA.

So here goes. These are five essential adolescent themes that run through Young Adult fiction. I'm sure there are more, but these are ones I keep coming back to:

1. Everything that happens is interconnected, happens to me, and has a reason (The “Center of the Universe” concept).

2. Everything that happens to me is the way things are for everyone else, too.

3. Being the same as the group is more desirable than being the one who sticks out.

4. If bad things happen to me, they are MY FAULT.

5. There is something WRONG with me, while all my friends are completely normal.