In Praise of Young Adult Fiction

I used to think I was a bit of a dork for liking Young Adult literature, even though my years as a young adult are long gone.


Not so anymore. Although some may be too shy to admit to it or call it a guilty pleasure, YA fiction has a huge fan base among grownups; in fact, a recent study states that 55% of its readers are actually adults. And while I also choose from a variety of other genres and often crave the more literary and classic offerings as well, I particularly enjoy writing Young Adult fiction, as two of my upcoming novels will attest.

Why do I and so many others love reading YA novels? I don’t believe it implies immaturity, but rather suggests a more “young at heart” sensibility of the reader. And I am careful about not lumping all of them together; as in every genre there is great writing and not-so-great writing. With that in mind, here is what I find appealing about most of the YA and coming-of-age literature I have read:

  • It draws you in and hooks you on the first page.
  • It is usually light on the exposition and heavy on the action and dialogue.
  • The drama isn’t contrived. The teenage years, with all of its growing pains, can be filled with turmoil. Ordinary situations often feel emotional, and even catastrophic.
  • Teens are well-known to be impetuous and curious, therefore their actions are often unexpected. This opens up all sorts of drama which may include acting on violence, sexuality, and other previously uncharacteristic behaviours.
  • We’ve all been there, so we can identify with many of the common conflicts that arise. Other times, we might enjoy reading YA as an escape into wish-fulfillment: a way of righting the wrongs in our own experience.

Still not convinced to give Young Adult a try? Peruse these quotes taken from bestselling YA fiction:




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What do you think of the Young Adult genre?
Do you have any favourite YA quotes to share?

21 thoughts on “In Praise of Young Adult Fiction

  1. Im a huge fan Jennifer. My favourite Author at the moment is Maggie Stiefvater and I cannot get enough of her books. I guess the trilogy that started my passion for YA was The Hunger Games. But I will read anything if it sounds interesting enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m late to the party on YA. I had no idea how compelling it was until I posted an article on my blog (for YA week) and got wonderful comments from readers. they make me want to go find a pile of YA novels and read all weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great blog post, Jennifer. I write and read YA too, for the reasons you mention. Emotions are magnified a thousandfold when you’re in your teens; each new experience more dramatic. here’s one of my favourite quotes: “It’s not my fault I can’t be like you, okay? I don’t get up in the morning thinking the world is one big, shiny, happy place, okay? That’s just not how I work. I don’t think I can be fixed.”
    ― Lauren Oliver, Before I Fall

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Katrina! Yes, emotions often run high because they are teens, but sometimes it is completely warranted, depending on the plot.
      Wonderful quote. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by with your comment.


  4. I don’t tend to read Young Adult fiction, but I know it has a huge following, and it’s definitely the it thing now, so it’s great you enjoy writing it. When I was at an agent pitchfest at a conference a couple years back, they were all looking for YA. I should probably read The Hunger Games sometime. I’ve read that all writers should read it just for its great structure alone.

    Liked by 1 person

          1. Haha, I understand. I was reading Stephen King at the age of 13. And yes, I hope my book will have wide appeal. The teenage protag just made sense. Made him more malleable to my nurse’s crusade.

            Liked by 1 person

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