So, you may or may not know this, but I signed up for the Teens Can Write, Too! chain for November. And I am EXCITED. It’s my first time, so you can kind of see why.
Anyway, this month’s prompt, graciously given by Kirsten from Kirsten Writes! is:
“As anyone who reads (or writes) teen fiction knows, “Young Adult” covers a wide breadth of genres, from comedy to romance to horror. Should YA fiction be broken up into categories as adult fiction is?“
Essentially, YA Fiction is a category that spans a whole bunch of genres. It’s this huge umbrella term, so it’s pretty vague.
I’ve got 2 sides to choose from, and I find myself agreeing with both of them. In my first opinion, I think that it should stay together in one huge section, except that section should be divided into smaller sections. If you compare the size of the Teen section in a bookstore, especially a major one, you can tell that it’s smaller than the Adult section, which really spans the entire store. If they broke it apart entirely, like if teen romance goes into the romance section, and if teen sci-fi goes into the adult sci-fi, I think that it would be spread too thinly.
Also, the books nowadays have multiple genres in them, and they could manage to belong to a bunch of sections. This one book could take place in 19th century England, so it could go in Historical Fiction. However, it could have aliens and invasions, so it could go in sci-fi.(oh, wait, that’s War of the Worlds…) Would they stock the books in both sections?
However, if the section’s rather large, it can be a pain to look through the whole thing just so you can find the book that you’re looking for. I cannot tell you how much time I’ve spent looking through the Teen section just looking for the book that interested me. That was mainly because I forgot the author’s name, but still. There are all these books that just happen to be grouped together because their main protagonist is a teenager and/or deals with things that one would usually associate with teenagers. Even if the themes are considered “more mature”, it would still be stocked in the Teens section. Take “banned books”, for example. They’ve got teen characters, yet some themes would be considered for older audiences; but, they’re still placed in the Teens section.
Besides that, there’s some confusion regarding the organization of the genres (for me, at least). Anyway, I’ve been to this one bookstore a couple times, right? So whenever I went, I always got lost trying to find the Teen section amongst all the adult books, because there didn’t happen to be a sign that said “Teens” that hung over the YA section that would’ve made life easier. So, in that section, there are three rows of shelves. On one part of the side of the first shelf, it’s the teen bestsellers. The rest of that row is a bunch of random YA Fiction that’s only organized by the author’s name. In the second row, the alphabetically organized books continue. Finally, in the third row, there’s a sign that says “Paranormal Romance” and the WHOLE shelf is filled with books fitting into that genre.
I was, and still am, confused about that. Why would they only organize one part of the YA category according to the genre that they belonged to, and leave the rest of them to be in this huge mix? It didn’t make any sense. If you’re gonna organize some of it, at least organize all of it! Save
me all of us confusion!
What I hope you get from this is that yes, Young Adult Fiction should be split up, but not too far. I find myself favouring that side after writing all this down. I just hope that bookstore employees and librarians do arrange the books like that so that I don’t get lost amongst all the choices again. Please.