What is the difference between young adult literature and plain old adult literature?
Now there’s a question that should be first on my faq. I sure do get asked it a lot. Invariably by someone who knows nothing about ya, often by someone who hadn’t even heard the term until they asked me what I do for a living, and sometimes by someone with a big ole sneer on their face.
It’s a hard question and my answers depends on how irritated I am by the asker. Here are a few:
- Unlike adult fiction YA is actually good
- YA can be read in less than a day
- YA is never about a middle-aged professor who has affairs with his students
- Or about anyone moving to Mexico or Indonesia to find themselves
- YA is commercial fiction where the writer gets to experiment with the form without their publishers’ head exploding
- A YA writer can write whatever genre they want—romance, crime, sf, fantasy, horror, western, whatever—and still have all their books be in the same place in the bookshop and not lose the love of their publisher
- YA writers get to meet some of the smartest teenagers around (hi, Erinn!)
- And hang out with all the cool librarians
Anybody else wanna add to the list?