Introduction to YA Fiction
Young Adult (YA) Fiction took the literary world by storm after it’s first use began in the late 1960’s. Originally created for 12-18 year olds, YA Fiction’s unique blend of relatable characters, engaging storylines, and thought-provoking themes captivated the hearts and minds of readers of all ages. YA books are now found in the hands of readers as young as 10 and as old as 25 on average.1
Why YA Fiction is so popular
Books for young adults have gained immense popularity in recent years, and it’s not hard to see why. One of the main reasons for its widespread appeal is its ability to resonate with readers on a deep emotional level. Readers see themselves mirrored on the pages and in the stories. Once dismissed as silly teen romance, YA novels have matured over the years. They now include protagonists who often face the same challenges and struggles that young adults encounter in their own lives. From navigating the complexities of friendships and relationships to grappling with identity and self-discovery, YA books offer a safe space for readers to find solace and understanding.
Another factor contributing to the popularity of YA novels is its ability to tackle important societal issues. YA authors fearlessly explore topics such as mental health, social justice, and diversity, giving a voice to those who often go unheard. By addressing these issues in a relatable and accessible way, YA books not only entertain but also educate and empower readers. This goes a long way in sparking important conversations and fostering empathy.
Benefits of reading YA Fiction
A YA book encourages a love for reading among young adults. By presenting stories that are relevant to their own experiences, YA Fiction captivates young readers and instills in them a lifelong passion for literature. The relatability of the characters and themes helps young adults develop a connection with books. In turn they foster a habit of reading that can enrich their lives in countless ways.
Furthermore, young adult books promote empathy and understanding. Through the journeys of the characters, readers are exposed to diverse perspectives and are encouraged to step into the shoes of others. This fosters empathy and compassion, broadening readers’ worldviews and promoting acceptance of differences. By engaging with YA Fiction, readers develop a greater understanding of the human experience and become more open-minded individuals.
YA Fiction vs. other genres
YA Fiction stands apart from other genres due to its unique characteristics. It serves as a bridge between childhood and “new” adulthood during the phase of life when humans experience the most change, maturing both physically and mentally. Unlike children’s books, which primarily target a younger audience, and adult fiction, which caters to more mature themes and language, YA Fiction strikes a balance between the two. It navigates the complexities of adolescence while addressing the universal themes of identity, growth, and finding one’s place in the world.
In terms of writing style, YA books tend to be more accessible and fast-paced compared to adult fiction. The narrative voice is often youthful and relatable, capturing the essence of teenage emotions and experiences. This makes YA Fiction an engaging and immersive reading experience, drawing readers in from the very first page.
YA Fiction authors to watch out for
The landscape of YA Fiction is brimming with talented authors, each with their own unique storytelling style. Of course, our favorite is Katelyn Brawn, author of the Hap-PIE-ly Ever After series. She is a fan of fairytales and her books are based off of the original tellings. Katelyn not only knows how to write for teens and new adults, she flips stereotypes and traditional storytelling on its head. Each story is grounded by the pie shop the where all the main characters work–and the result is dangerously delicious. The first three books in her popular young adult series are:
- Pumpkin Pie (2016) – This isn’t your mother’s Cinderella story.
- Pecan Pie (2020) – Grab a cup of tea and sit with us in the rose garden.
- Blackberry Pie (Summer 2024) – Sleep doesn’t help if it‘s your soul that’s tired.
While the books are connected, they don’t have to be read in order. Beware: contains strong female leads, relatable characters, and modern themes for young, modern women.
Looking for more YA authors?
Great ways to discover new YA authors are by attending book festivals and author events. These events often feature panels and discussions with YA authors. You’ll get the opportunity to hear about their latest works, get a glimpse into their writing process, and perhaps leave with a signed copy of a new favorite story. In person events are fantastic ways to connect with authors and their work. Keep an eye out for local book events in your area and mark your calendar for an exciting literary adventure!
YA book recommendations
If you’re looking for your next YA Fiction adventure, there are numerous resources available to help you discover your next favorite book. Online platforms such as TikTok (#booktok) and Instagram (#bookstagram) lead the way. They provide a wealth of recommendations, reviews, and discussions about YA books. Joining book clubs or following book bloggers who specialize in YA Fiction is also a great way to stay up-to-date with the latest releases and popular titles in the genre.
Other great YA books coming out in 2024 can be found in this article by Kelly Jensen at Book Riot. Her YA book list has it all. After you check it out, let us know which one(s) you are most looking forward to!
The best, free ways to find your next read in YA are to explore your local library and/or ask your family and friends for advice. It’s likely they’d be delighted to share their favorite YA author or YA novels with you. Don’t be afraid to ask for suggestions – you might stumble upon a hidden gem that will leave a lasting impact.
The best young adult novels engage real life issues faced by 12 – 18 year olds in an honest manner. They stimulate conversation around cultural, social, and economic issues young adults face as they enter “new” adulthood. Being able to process and assimilate an understanding of the world around them gives teens valuable tools as they enter the next phase of their lives. Plus, books for young adult are fun and easy to read, making them an easy choice to add to anyone’s TBR pile. YA books are a valuable and necessary piece of literature, and they’re here to stay.
Do you have a favorite young adult book?
Be sure to share your favorite YA books with us in the comments below. We love to expand our TRB pile and others will enjoy reading your suggestions.
- Position statement from the ALA: The Value of Young Adult Literature, by Michael Cart for YALSA; Adopted by YALSA’s Board of Directors, January, 2008.