Why read and write YA?

I love adult literature but there’s a place in my heart for reading Young Adult (YA) too. They’re a quick and straightforward read but that doesn’t mean simple or under-developed (not the best ones anyway); the category YA simply refers to books about a particuliar period of life (The Catcher in the Rye and The Virgin Suicides would both be YA if released today).

There’s a view that YA books are becoming more simplistic and generic, mostly because of the perceived “goldrush” in writing YA, and the subsequent problem of clichéd battle scenes and poorly conceived love triangles (à la Twilight) that drive the story rather than any semblance of a plot. It’s almost as if the writers are following a checklist of things to include to get that Hollywood blockbuster.

My advice would be to stick to some of the better writers and not follow the hype, longstanding authors like Laurie Halse Anderson, David Almond, Patrick Ness, Meg Rosoff, etc.  The first parts of franchise installments are normally huge page-turners, if that’s what you’re after (Divergent & The Hunger Games, being the obvious dystopian examples but there are hundreds of book franchises in other genres such as fantasy or historical). As a useful into, The Guardian provides a list of the 8 best YA books here  and some lesser well-known must-read titles here.

YA readers are more likely to suspend disbelief, and the plotlines can be way more interesting and varied. It’s a point made by Lucy Mangan in The Guardian (You’re never too old to read young adult fiction). As a YA author, I can only agree.


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