Thursday, November 25, 2010

Defining Young Adults

This post is a response to another blog post by Mary Pearson, which can be read at

Mary Pearson strikes up a good point about most adults being unsure or unfamiliar with what exactly teen literature, YA (Young Adult) literature is. Pearson comments on an idea that adults have - that the teen experience is one to get through quickly, and how she thinks it amazing. I think I have to agree with her, although while it was interesting… it did have its ups and downs – not everyone was gifted with popularity and looks… therefore creating a bag teenage experience. Oh well. I do think though that those who write for teens have a chance to make those less fun experiences go by faster and provide escape from uncomfortable situations in real life – isn't that what reading is about? Pearson makes a point that teen books are there for entertainment purposes and not to raise children.

Teens and tweens come to the library to find books with characters that are similar to them… so it should be obvious that teen books will have teen-aged characters. Despite being able to read up to adult books, why would tweens and teens care about what a corporate shark was doing before he got murdered and the burnt-out detective that has to solve the murder?? They're more likely than not going to want to read something that resonates with them. Like Pearson said, it is about the teen experience – something that most adults (other than those facing a mid-life crisis) have already experienced. Therefore, it would not be the focus of adult books… unless the book has teenagers in it… but at that stage, the consensus of many adults is that the parents of the teens are pulling their hair out and are stressed at the antics of teens… so another no-go.

The blog post by Pearson makes a good point in trying to put teen fiction in a protective bubble that won't be burst easily.


Mary Pearson. (September 10, 2009). What YA Lit is and isn’t [Web log message]. Retrieved from

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