I’ve long yearned to write this, and now, Armchair BEA‘s topic of the day has given me an excuse.
GeekyLibrary reviewers have asked me, “Why can’t I categorize this as Young Adult?” In fact, they’ve been saying it ever since we reviewed Ender’s Game and I’ve mulishly said, “Because, I said so.”
You can pick multiple genres, which is handy for those genre busters that seem to becoming more common, so having to pick YA over a different genre category isn’t the problem.
I just never added YA.
The real reason is that I dislike categorizing books based on the supposed age group they should fit. We do have a growing youth section, but YA books appeal to a much broader range than the “young adult” label seems to imply. This is confirmed by the creation of the “New Adult” label, which I think is just starting to get ridiculous. What is next, “Middle-Age Adult” and “Retired Adult?” Will we go so far to split them up for “Geriatric Adult?”
Okay, probably not. But it could happen.
The popularity of so-called “Young Adult” books like The Hunger Games should prove that the labels are starting to become antiquated. Obviously, these books do not appeal to just pre-teens or teens, but a broad readership from all ages. We don’t really categorize movies this way (Back to the Future is a great YA movie!), although they are often marketed toward certain age groups. Why categorize books this way?
Really, I do get it. It’s nice to know what you like. It’s awesome to be able to head straight to your favorite section in the bookstore or the library. But there are genres within the YA genre— just because you like YA romance, doesn’t mean you’ll like YA science fiction.
I know there are people who won’t agree with me. Even strongly disagree with me.
And I’ll say again; I like YA books. I just don’t like the Young Adult label.
Market the books to young adult, write them for young adults, but think about it long and hard before categorizing them as young adults. I’d argue that in plenty of cases, it simply isn’t necessary.
Someday, the overwhelming popularity of young adult books will drive me to adding the label to the list of genres, but for now, vive La Résistance!
A genre should describe the book, not the readers.