Why Young Adult Literature Is Here to Stay

Young Adult (YA) literature often gets a bad rep. It’s thought-frivolous, badly written and overabundant with tropes. However, YA is what can be termed “the best of all worlds.” It is a melting pot of genres, delivered in easily readable chunks of a few hundred pages. It is carefully grounded in reality and yet larger-than-life. Reading YA means sinking one’s teeth into a different reality with its own challenges while simultaneously escaping one’s own.

Even though J K Rowling’s Harry Potter is what told the world that this genre is greatness undiscovered, there have been plenty of books and book series before and after that have managed to carve a niche of their own.

What works for YA is the putting-yourself-in-their-shoes factor. It places highly relatable people in equally relatable situations. It forces them to make the hard choices. It gives them transformative arcs. It offers a glimpse into intense, highly emotional internal battles. Through all this, it gives life lessons without ever being preachy.

Additionally, it delivers generously on the escapism promised. Even as these young adults deal with very real problems, they do so in worlds or situations that are not entirely real. Be it the witchcraft and wizardry seen in the Harry Potter series or the future in The Maze Runner or the dystopian societies in The Hunger Games series and Divergent series, YA has something for everyone. Speaking of having something for everyone, YA is as inclusive as it gets. Here exist people of different gender identities, varied cultural backgrounds and those with disabilities. None of them are used as a vehicle for a diversity charade and instead, are treated the way they should be: people who have colorful lives just like everybody else.

While YA does deal with the problems of people who aren’t old enough to have experienced the “real world,” it also needs to be noted that the genre can serve as nostalgia to adult readers. It is their experiences, their “firsts,” that are catalogued in these books. The very things that people ridicule YA for, are the things that work in its favor. Its simple prose is not bad writing; it is simply something that anybody with decent reading skills can pick up and enjoy reading. Its tropes are not done-to-death storylines; they’re merely a bracket of books that help people read only what they want to read.

YA is serious literature without all the baggage of literature that’s actually considered serious. It makes for a deeply emotional reading experience without once wavering in its entertainment quotient. It gives every reader the kind of books they deserve – fun, but life-changing.
Suma Hegde,