Friday, 8 November 2019
YA vs. NA: Why is it So Hard To Categorize?
I think it is obvious that I mostly read YA. I find it the most enjoyable to read personally, though I have read some standard fiction novels that I absolutely love. Recently, I have been branching more into New Adult territory. This is mostly because I ain't getting any younger, and since I am well out of high school now, I do find some YA to be less relatable to me. However, a problem arises when trying to research New Adult books. I am finding that most of the books I am looking for are being categorized under the YA genre, when they are so clearly not YA.
I realized I wanted to write this post when reading Red, White and Royal Blue by: Casey Mcquiston. I absolutely adored the book, but I was shocked while reading some of the details, because all this time I had seen the book being marketed as YA. Even on Goodreads, a substantial amount of people had labelled it YA. There are some detailed sex scenes in the book, and the characters are a bit more mature, so I wondered why YA was the standard for it to be labelled as.
I think that people forget that YA is not just a genre for older high school students. YA begins at age 12, and I personally don't find Red, White and Royal Blue appropriate for a 12 year old. Now, this can all depend on the maturity of the teen, and I don't think we should censor what teens want to read if they are willing to learn, however sometimes books are just meant for an older audience, even if they are labelled as something different.
I have seen on twitter that Ninth House by: Leigh Bardugo was being marketed as YA, simply because of Leigh's past YA novels being such a success. Now I haven't read Ninth House yet, but judging by the synopsis, I don't think it is anywhere near YA territory, even if the author has written YA. Why should she be labelled to one genre for the rest of her life? It just seems so restricting to me.
Other books such as the A Court of... series by: Sarah J. Maas are sooo not YA, but again, I have seen them on the YA shelf at bookstores. These books are very explicit in sex content, and again, I think some parents would be weary of their 12 year old reading them. There is absolutely no reason for this book to be labelled as YA.
I think I know the answer as to why a lot of books are mis-labelled, and it comes down to good old marketing. YA is a much larger field than NA. YA books are super successful, whereas NA is a relatively new category with not as many recognisable bestsellers. I think some marketers label books as YA because they know the book will make a lot of money if under that category. It opens the book up to not only teens, but also the adults who do read YA, whereas less teens read NA. I guess it just makes more money that way.
I think that booksellers and publishers should be careful when labelling novels. If Jenny Han, the queen of YA contemporary in my opinion, were to write a book tomorrow with graphic content, I don't think it should still be put into YA just because she is a well-known YA author! There are certain guidelines that should be followed.
So, if a mature teen would like to branch into NA, then good for them! However, when unknowing younger teens are picking up novels in the YA section, only to be shocked and confused by the content, then there is a big problem on our hands. New Adult is a great genre, so let its books flourish! The only way to expand the genre, is to allow books to be apart of it.
Have you found this to be an issue?
Emily @ Paperback Princess