There’s a literary genre kicking all other genre’s asses and taking over the literary world and TikTok—and I bet you know what it is.
It’s young adult (also known as YA) literature!
While the genre is looked down upon by adult fiction readers (I once had I guy tell me I was too old to be standing in the YA section of a Barnes and Noble), the stories told and created by young adult authors often tackle adult themes in a more digestible, graceful and lyrical way. Accordingly, as the themes become even more complex and the stories more compelling, more and more readers outside of the target audience are devouring the literature.
For example, Amber McBride’s debut novel, Me (Moth), looks at trauma, love, identity and family dynamics in an intense way while specifically geared towards a younger audience. Free Lunch by Rex Ogle examines his experiences with poverty and provides a space for young adults to feel safe—while giving hope for a chance at a better life.
YA fantasy—and adult fantasy—has also taken over the fantastical stratosphere, and Jordan Ifueko and L. Penelope continue their sagas of powerful empresses and queens in the next installments of their series, Redemptor and Requiem of Silence, respectively.
We also get some fantastic non-YA fiction this week with At Night All Blood Is Black: A Novel by David Diop, which made it onto former President Barack Obama’s 2021 summer reading list. The vigilante-style themes of the novel mixed with fantastical elements are bound to keep to you, well, turning the pages (heh).
Please throw out all of the preconceived notions of YA literature, who is “supposed to” read it and pick up some of these titles from these amazing YA novelists.