Writing Wednesdays: 5 Ways that YA novels are totally underrated

September 16, 2015
Young Adult novels get a lot of flack in the literary community sometimes. In this post, I share the five ways I think they're most underrated.

As an avid reader (and, obviously, a writer) of young adult fiction, I hate when I see posts online or hear people bashing YA novels. So instead of talking about the ways in which people think YA sucks and arguing with them – I’m gonna talk about why it’s totally underrated.

1. Hindsight is not a thing.

Trust me, that maths test is a huge deal when you take it and when you don’t get the grade you want. In a year, it won’t matter – in five, you’ll have probably forgotten all about it. But when you’re taking that maths test – or rather, when the protagonist is – it’s a huge deal. And I think sometimes adults forget that, with the benefit of hindsight.

2. Emotions are a big deal for us.

Maybe this is because we don’t have the benefit of hindsight. That first heartbreak is awful – the seventh, maybe easier to deal with. But as young people we are experiencing some of these things for the first time, and we are experiencing them strongly, so the characters aren’t often exaggerating their feelings.

3. You just get so much more range and variety!

We still have aspirations and dreams that we haven’t had chance to try yet. We haven’t started on the track of a career we maybe don’t even like. Lots of us are learning to drive, learning lots of new skills. We also often aren’t as tied down with family and work so there are more opportunities to explore with young adult characters.

4. Young people NEED these books.

We need to read about other characters like us – characters going through similar situations (be it losing their parents, getting pregnant, failing a test, or a first date). We need to read about characters dealing with similar problems. We need to know we’re not alone.

5. The Diversity.

I know that YA isn’t the only genre with diverse characters and representation, but from my experience as both a reader and writer, the YA community is one that cares the most passionately about diversity in books. And it seems that the younger generations are more accepting of people who are different from them: more accepting of people with different skin colours, different backgrounds, different sexualities, different gender identifications, and so on; so we want to read about characters who are as diverse as the society we live in, as diverse as our friends, as diverse as us.

Do you read a lot of YA? What are your thoughts on this topic?

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