Wednesday, November 16, 2016


If you remember from last week, I was approached by a MFA candidate friend about Young Adult literature. Today, I approach the second question.

The Questions:

1. What does the term "young adult literature" mean to you as an author?

2. What do you believe makes a novel young adult?

3. What made you want to write a young adult novel (or market Eleanor, Celeste, and David as such)?

4. Do you believe young adult novels have literary value? How so or why not?

5. What do you believe the future of young adult literature entails?

2. What do you believe makes a novel young adult?

There are three elements I’ve found that are required to have a book fall into the young adult category. First, the protagonist must be of young adult age, 12-17 years old typically. This is the foundation and if this one condition is met, the rest can be bent and broken.

The other conditions are meant to get past the assumed gatekeeper of the reader. There is an assumption that young adult readers have someone between them and their possible books. Be they parents, guardians or librarians, typically it is assumed, that there is someone vetting the titles before they find their ways into the young adult readers hands. Because of this, for the adult wanting to censor, sex and violence must be blunted. Though these borders are being constantly pressed, there is a standard idea that sex should be out or at least highly softened and violence, though theoretically as harsh as you’d like it (see The Hunger Games) shouldn’t be written in gory detail. 

So, the age of the protagonist is paramount and defining. Sex must be out or softened and violence shouldn’t be graphic. 

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