Let’s Talk Bookish: what makes a book YA?

Another week is over, we’re in July already and my summer break starts in three weeks?! How come, I have one more test on Monday and then I am all stress-free for the summer and ready to enjoy the pool with all the summer books I can imagine! Anyways, back to the books: today I’ll talk about the aspects that make books YA, some problems I’ve had with YA and list some faves of mine! Let’s Talk Bookish is as always hosted by  Dani @ Literary Lion and Rukky @ Eternity Books!

My definition of YA books:

I think most people know what YA books are, but defining is never wrong – so here’s a definition: Young Adult fiction is written for readers between 12 and 18 years old as a transition between children’s books and adult fiction. The ages of the protagonists correlate with the age of the reader, with the majority of protagonists being 16-18 years old.

My problems with some books marked as YA:

Due to the reader’s age the books are written for, some weren’t “clean” enough for me. I’ve had to lay down several YA books because they were just too sexual and that is not okay, in my opinion: me being 17 years old, I can handle reading an inappropriate book, but what about a 12-year-old that accidentally picks one up? What could be really helpful here are “target age marks” that help the reader define whether the book is appropriate or something they’re looking for rather than it being just a YA book.

Another thing that sometimes bothers me is the age of the protagonists: in many novels, especially contemporary YA, the protagonist is 19-22 and while you sometimes don’t notice the age difference in the behavior and manner, the themes are different: for instance, Fangirl deals with college and growing up and while I can relate to growing up, there is some time for me to deal with college. Shouldn’t it then me marked “coming-of age” or even “adult fiction” because the protagonist is an adult and deals with “grown-up” problems. Because, again, I don’t think 12/13 year olds care about college.

Some of my favorite YA fantasy books:

  1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: the characters are about 16-17 years old, awesome plot and the most amazing characters!
  2. Shadowhunters by Cassandra Clare: I am very happy I don’t have to deal with their problems at such a young age, I wouldn’t have survived all that demon-fighting and the wars…
  3. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard: for the protagonists being 17-18 years old, the aspects of governing a enormous nation, leading a rebellion and fighting a war are pretty intense and the characters could have easily been made 10-30 years older and the book would have worked just fine.

Some of my favorite YA contemporary books:

  1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: real world impact, touching and tragic story and something every young person should have read.
  2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: the saddest and yet most fulfilling and touching book I have ever read. Be prepared to be shattered to pieces.
  3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: Despite dealing with college and the protagonist being 18+, I could identify with her and immensely enjoyed this cute read!

That’s it: how do you define YA and what are some of your favorites? Comment and happy reading!

Author: Blogger Books

I'm a huge fan of Draco Malfoy, I love scones and tea time, I don't like horror movies and obviously I'm a huge book nerd.

19 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: what makes a book YA?”

  1. I completely agree with this! When I was younger I also thought some books marked as YA were too sexual and that just wasn’t what I wanted to read at the time. Now I am much older and I don’t mind at all, but I definitely consider New Adult as its own genre and I think there should be more of a distinction between YA and NA.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! I was super shocked when I read my first YA books at like 12 or 13 – now I also don’t mind, but there should be some warning/sign or something! Thanks so much for commenting and happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a fantastic post! I totally agree with you, books like ACOTAR and Fangirl definitely edge towards the older side of YA, which I personally think should be new adult. 12 year old me would have been scarred if I’d picked up ACOTAR😂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with this post so much Jane!!! I’m thirteen, and yeah, it’s going to be harder for me to relate to books about someone in college, just because I’m not close to that age group! Even Six of Crows was a bit intense, although I did love it!! (That could just be my intolerance for blood and gore in books of any kind though 😂)

    I do think that it really depends on what publishers and authors are defining the genre young adult as. I’ve seen it advertised for 13 – 18, or 15 – 20. I think that a lot of the time middle-grade is overlooked, or seen as for way younger kids. However, there are many middle-grade novels that older kids will enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! And yesss!! I’m 17 and even I can’t always relate so I def understand!!! And it really depends, that’s true! And I love middle grade, it’s such a flashback to middle school and the vibes back then!!!
      Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I definitely agree with you! As an adult I adore some books like A Court of Thorns and Roses but when I realize they’re marketed as “Young Adult” I’m horrified by how graphic the sexual content is! Young Adult is also a strange marketing category because it is separate from “teen” in a lot of stores which would seem to mean its a category for people in their early twenties…but plenty of YA lit…is teen lit? It’s such a nebulous category.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I knowww!! It is such a weird category and I’m sometimes super hesitant what to think about it because I love reading many of the books in that genre but then when you actually think of all the younger people, it makes you think….

      Liked by 1 person

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