We Need to Stop Calling YA a Genre

I’m guilty of doing this, so I’m not coming down on anyone. For the longest time, actually, I would just refer to Young Adult books as a genre of books. The problem with calling YA a genre is the fact that it’s not really a genre. It’s an audience target. Much like children’s books are targeted for children and adult books for adults.

I’d love to know how we all caught onto calling YA a genre in the first place. I’m baffled by it, especially since I’ve done so myself. However, I have been trying to catch myself if I think or start calling it a genre. Because, you know, it’s not.

What isn’t wrong is when someone asks you what you like you read, you answer “YA romance,” or “YA fantasy,” because that’s telling the person what target audience and genre within that target that you like to read. You could just say romance or fantasy, and I’m sure most people would do this, but the hardcore bookworms like to be specific, don’t we?

This doesn’t mean that if you’re past the teen age, you can’t read young-adult books. I’m almost 30 and young-adult books are the majority of what I read. In fact, they’re better now than when I was a teen! I’m a huge advocate on reading from whatever age category you wish. After all, I’ll be reading YA books well into my 80s or 90s if I live that long!

On that note, referencing the tweet above, can we make Middle Grade fiction more of a standard category as well? At least in libraries, that is. I know of only one library in my surrounding area that has a separate Middle Grade section between the Children and Teens/YA rooms. I would actually love to see this more in bookstores as well. It just doesn’t make sense to me to put books that are for very young kids in the same place as ones for those entering middle school. Kids need that in between separation as they get closer to their teen years.

At least that’s what I think.

How about you? Do you think libraries/bookstores need a separate middle grade section? And have you ever caught yourself calling YA a genre?

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10 thoughts on “We Need to Stop Calling YA a Genre

  1. cossette @teatimelit says:

    this !!! i also saw something on twitter this morning about how we should call “young adult” 16-18 and then bring back “teen” as a category and i totally agree with that too

    Liked by 2 people

  2. jarilissima says:

    Every tweet is “shouted from the rooftops” tho, isn’t it? It’s not a tweet if it isn’t dramatic!

    YA is a big practical umbrella, especially for physical bookstores. At Barnes & Noble (where I worked for a bit), YA was a big corner of the store, then that corner was split into YA romance, YA *paranormal* romance, YA nonfiction, school required reads, etc. Practical.

    But friends that tell me they enjoy YA never say “I enjoy the genre YA.” They either say YA or YA Fantasy or YA [genre here]. This is a non-issue and I will shout it from the rooftops!!! 🤪

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Abby @ Beyond the Read says:

    I second this!! I catch myself calling YA a genre all the time, and this post was a great reminder to stop doing that. Calling an age category a genre makes people think that all YA books are similar and have similar themes, which is part of why YA is so looked down on 😫 And yess MG is a whole category unto itself and it deserves all that appreciation!! Great post ❤️❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  4. cherelle @ a bolt out of the book says:

    Ooh I loved this post so much! Especially because I plead guilty, thank you for the reminder to be more mindful and not just mush vastly different genres into one general “YA” genre… And definitely agree we need more MG love! I’m so happy that libraries in my country do make the effort to separate Children’s and Middle Grade, though they go by the names of “Junior Simple” and “Junior”…

    Liked by 1 person

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