By Isabelle Rodriguez
Before I start I’d like to ask for you to calm down! I know that more than likely, any reader that sees my title is grabbing their pitchforks and bricks, getting ready to list off all the YA books they adore, testifying to their imagination and complexity. But that’s not what I’m talking about. You can still have your precious stories and authors, but it’s the genre that I have beef with.
Now you’re probably like, “Why do you have beef with a genre? Do have too much time on your hands?”
I don’t! My concern is how the stories have surpassed the limitations of the genre.
In order to understand my beef, you have to understand the context of the genre; and one of the main problems comes down to defining it. When taking a YA Novel class last semester my professor had asked us to define YA, and it took us the whole class period to do so and even then I left feeling as if we hadn’t found a definite idea. YA stories could be read by someone as young as 12 and old as 18, but grown-ups have steadily become more and more interested in reading YA with books like The Hunger Games, Twilight, and the Percy Jackson series gaining popularity and renown. The genre has reached a broader audience.
Now I can imagine some of you saying that it’s not YA because of its readers, but rather the protagonists, but the thing is they’re all teenagers. And if you poke your nose near the children’s section, there is still a teen section. So here we have a genre that is consumed by a large age range with only teen protagonists, but isn’t considered a teen book? You get how odd it is?
So now we come back to my problem: why have YA?
We should just get rid of the label and replace it with a genre label that could make more sense. What would it be? I don’t know, but I think this is something we should be aware of. And I know some of you STILL may be thinking, does this really matter? The books are good, we all enjoy it, does it matter that we should rename it?
How we label things definitely affect how we view them. We’ve all read some amazing young adult fiction that has impacted our lives, but unfortunately, the title belittles the work a bit. YA definitely has a juvenile connotation to it, and placing the label on the books makes people view it in the way. YA should be renamed because it has expanded beyond this label.
We, as a modern audience, have gone beyond these kinds of label when enjoying books, so bookstores should definitely change for the times.