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Young Adult Literature: Home

Young Adult Literature

Genres in Our Library

Adventure is a genre of novels that have adventure, travel, an exciting undertaking involving risk and physical danger, as its main theme.

Animal fiction may have animals as the main characters or playing a central role in the story.

Classics  The idea of a classic implies something that has continuance and consistence, and which produces unity and tradition, fashions and transmits itself, and endures.  “Your classic author is the one you cannot feel indifferent to, who helps you define yourself in relation to him, even in dispute with him.” Italo Calvino

Family Issues deals with books that have conflicts between either siblings or parent and child.  The books in our collection deal mostly with young adults.

Fantasy is a genre of fiction that uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common.

Historical fiction tells a story that is set in the past. That setting is usually real and drawn from history, and often contains actual historical persons, but the principal characters tend to be fictional.

Horror fiction is a genre of literature, which is intended to, or has the capacity to frighten its readers, inducing feelings of horror and terror.  Horror can be either supernatural or non-supernatural.

Humor is a work of fiction in which the writer not only seeks to amuse the reader, but also to make the reader think about controversial issues, sometimes with subtlety and as part of a carefully woven narrative.

Inspirational fiction its main purpose is to use the example of a change in the life of a major character to inspire readers to think that such changes are possible in their lives, as well.  This section also includes faith based literature.

Multicultural fiction includes stories about characters in different countries around the word.  The books located here mostly have young adult characters facing challenges in their countries.

Mystery  is often used as a synonym for detective fiction or crime fiction— in other words a novel or short story in which a detective (either professional or amateur) investigates and solves a crime mystery.

Romance Novels in this genre place their primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and must have an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending."

Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible (or at least non-supernatural) content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities.

Sports fiction is a literary genre that focuses on the theme of sports and athletics in general.

Suspense contains a high level of anticipation, ultra-heightened expectation, uncertainty, anxiety, thrills, excitement, tension, terror. Literary devices such as red herrings and cliffhangers are used extensively.

War genre is a novel in which the primary action takes place in a field of armed combat or the home front where the characters are preoccupied with the preparations for, or recovery from, war.

Western is a genre of literature set in the American Old West frontier and typically set from the late eighteenth to the late nineteenth century.

Young Adult The vast majority of YA stories portray an adolescent as the protagonist, rather than an adult or a child.  Themes in YA stories often focus on the challenges of youth, so much so that the entire age category is sometimes referred to as problem novels or coming of age novels or realistic fiction.

The Value of Young Adult Literature

Image compiled by others via, 2014.

The Value of Young Adult Literature


The term "young adult literature" first found common usage in the late 1960’s, it referred to realistic fiction that was set in the real (as opposed to imagined), contemporary world and addressed problems, issues, and life circumstances of interest to young readers aged approximately 12-18. Such titles were issued by the children’s book divisions of American publishers and were marketed to institutions – libraries and schools – that served such populations. 



While some of this remains true today, the size of this population segment has also increased as the conventional definition of “young adult” has expanded to include those as young as ten and, since the late 1990s, as old as twenty-five.

“Literature,” which traditionally meant fiction, has also expanded to include new forms of literary – or narrative — nonfiction and new forms of poetry, including novels and book-length works of nonfiction in verse. The increasing importance of visual communication has begun to expand this definition to include the pictorial, as well, especially when offered in combination with text as in the case of picture books, comics, and graphic novels and nonfiction. 

As a result of these newly expansive terms, the numbers of books being published for this audience have similarly increased, perhaps by as much as 25 percent, based on the number of titles being reviewed by a leading journal.  Similarly, industry analyst Albert Greco states that the sale of young adult books increased by 23 percent from 1999 to 2005.

Though once dismissed as a genre consisting of little more than problem novels and romances, young adult literature has, since the mid-1990’s, come of age as literature – literature that welcomes artistic innovation, experimentation, and risk-taking.

Evidence of this is the establishment of the Michael L. Printz Award, which YALSA presents annually to the author of the best young adult book of the year, “best” being defined solely in terms of literary merit. Further evidence is the extraordinary number of critically acclaimed adult authors who have begun writing for young adults – authors like Michael Chabon, Isabel Allende, Dale Peck, Julia Alvarez, T. C. Boyle, Joyce Carol Oates, Francine Prose, and a host of others. As a result of these and other innovations young adult literature has become one of the most dynamic, creatively exciting areas of publishing.


By Michael Cart for YALSA

YALSA's Teen Book Finder App


YALSA's Teen Book Finder is a free app for students, teachers, parents and anyone who enjoys YA literature. 

Where's The Quote From : Classic or YA Lit Quiz