You might have seen the words “Young Adult” or “YA” in bookstores and libraries, you’ve probably also seen books labelled or categorized as “Young Adult,” and chances are, you’ve probably read a “YA” Novel. However, “YA” is not an actual genre.
Genre is “a class or category of artistic endeavor having a particular form, content, technique, or the like,” according to the dictionary. If “YA” was truly a genre, the books written in the genre would have similar content as the definition shows. However, books marketed as “YA” have a wide range of topics ranging from dystopian, to science fiction to high fantasy to realistic fiction and more. So unless you’re talking about bad love triangles and boring female protagonists, books labelled as “Young Adult” do not have a similar set of content which goes against the literal definition of a “genre.” That’s one reason I do not consider “YA” to be a genre.
Then again, there are certain tropes and cliches that all of “Young Adult” has that is exclusive to the “YA” marketing brand. Each genre does have it’s own small cliches and the same could be said for “YA”. Due to that, “YA” may seem like an actual genre. Still, “YA”’s crude resemblance to an actual genre still does not make it one.
Think of how a genre like fantasy, realistic fiction or sci-fi can be read by a variety of people of all ages. There are books in every genre that are for kids. There are books in every genre that are directed towards adults. A true genre would encompass all age ranges. Sadly, the supposed “YA” genre does not fulfill this criteria. Hence, the label “Young Adult,” it’s only a range of books that are for the teenage demographic. So for all of you who read “YA” books and claim that it’s a genre, you probably have the wrong definition of the term “YA.” “YA” is not a genre, it is merely a marketing brand that is targeted towards young adults.