I’m a little riled up. I just saw a list circulating Twitter for young adult stories set in college. Young adult is supposed to limit the age of the characters in the book to 18. So unless you are all writing the next version of Young Sheldon Cooper I don’t know why this list exists.
What is happening?
The young adult market is a HUGE money maker. Don’t get me wrong I live in the US, we are unabashedly capitalist and I have a business degree. BUT I do not think it’s right to take a book category and modify it to fit adult tastes when it’s meant for kids.
Let’s break things down a bit. There are a few categories for books defined by age in descending order: Adult, New Adult, Young Adult, and Children’s. Inside those categories you get genre’s like: Fantasy, Literary, Sci-Fi, Historical, Romance etc.
If you’re writing a book with college age kids it’s called New Adult. Yes, the new adult category has some stereotype issues currently… but for the love of the kids don’t steal there book section because you don’t like the adult books available to you. Instead, let’s redefine the new adult category in way that works for the readers.
Writers please take a stand on publishing in the correct category because kids deserve their own section. Sure adults can read it- I do. But please don’t change the dynamics of the category in response to money, exposure, or sales.
Money is so powerful and I know we all want more of it but let’s not stoop so low as to blur the lines of a book category away from those it was created for. Instead, let’s write new adult books that readers want to read more of and market them in the correct genre within the new adult category.
Writers and publishers need to take notice of this trend of adults reading below their level and make a change.
Why? Adults want to be transported with stellar writing. To believe we can be young again through the pages of a book. To know we can change the world, no matter the odds. To see intense issues being lived out on the pages. To have it all within an all night reading spree. These plots and characters can exist in an adult book and should.
All of this is happening in the young adult books but less in the adult books. We have the ability to change this.
Let’s take the new adult category and treat it like the other age categories by dividing it into genres so readers know what kind of book they are picking up. Only then will readers change their view of these stellar new categories and find the books they want to read.