Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Discussion: Why YA Needs to Be Taken More Seriously

Why YA Needs to Be Taken More Seriously

It's that time of year again, the time for the Goodreads Choice Awards, where we can vote for our favourite books of 2017. I've voted in these awards for as long as I can remember, but being primarily a YA reader, I've mostly only voted in categories I know YA novels to be in; Young Adult Fiction, Young Adult Fantasy and Sci-Fi, and Goodreads Debut Author. This time, I actually decided to look through the other categories, and I realised something that annoyed me.

For fiction that isn't YA, the categories are split into each genre. There's Historical Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, Mystery & Thriller, and a general Fiction category. Not only is fantasy and sci-fi lumped together for YA, but every other possible genre falls under Young Adult Fiction. Meaning we get to vote for more "adult" books than we do YA, as only so many books make it to each category. And it's unfair.

It just makes me think that Goodreads, like so many other people, doesn't take YA seriously enough. Us YA readers do not get to choose our favourite YA romance and our favourite historical. Instead, we're given very few to choose from. There are several contenders in the YA Fiction category that I loved, but I have to choose between them, books that aren't really comparable because they're of different genres. I also think it's kind of unfair to the authors, too. It seems to me that their work isn't judged as important or as worthy as general/"adult" fiction, of any genre. YA only definitely gets two winners, where general fiction gets seven, with a battle between the two for Goodreads Debut Author. It just seems dismissive to me. It also reminds me of when a person - who works in the book industry - once asked me, derisively, "Are you still reading YA?"

I'm sick of people looking down on YA. I'm sick of people not actually listening to those who read/write YA. I know I'm talking to the converted, but YA isn't watered down, fluffy, safe nonsense. To think such is insulting to teenagers, who are the actual target audience of these books. Who are capable of intelligent thought and of being challenged by subject matter, who are capable of engaging with a book and thinking about what they're reading. It's just disgusting to assume that teens aren't clever enough to deal with "grown up" books, and because of this, to then assume YA is somehow lacking in comparison to everything else, because it's for stupid teens. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed, The Taste of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles - just a few books I've read this year that are so important, that tackle difficult topics, that are so timely. These are not light, watered down, fluff.

I'm just getting so tired of it. I know I'm not saying anything new, that readers and writers of YA have been saying this for so long now, but we're just not listened to. It's time we YA readers, the YA books themselves, and teenagers were taken more seriously, and actually listened to.

What do you think about those who mock or dismiss YA? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

--
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to follow me on:
Bloglovin' | Twitter | Instagram

1 comment:

  1. Of course, I agree with you. I do acknowledge that just in terms of sheer numbers there are probably more adult titles than YA titles, so that might influence Goodreads. For instance, in terms of YA thrillers, there might not be enough to have a strong category. I don't know that for sure, but I'm guessing that might be part of the problem.

    I definitely agree that a few more categories would make selecting our favorites a whole lot nicer, though. And in terms of how seriously people take YA, you're definitely right!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    ReplyDelete