A discussion on Twitter yesterday saw a bunch of cool people weighing on on what defines YA (in the face of a new designation, New Adult, which I think is a bit blech, but anyway…!). Whenever I see this discussion take place, I’m reminded of my favourite definition of YA (Young Adult) fiction, which was penned by Aussie author Garth Nix as a comment on a blog post by editor Jonathan Strahan. Every time I want to reference the quote, I have to FIND it, and I worry that one day it won’t be there, so I’m noting it here, hoping Garth won’t mind!
To my mind, YA is a subset of adult fiction, not of children’s fiction, and should be considered as having an entry reading age rather than an age *range*. The entry level is probably 13 or 14, but there is no upper level because the books are also for adults. Saying YA is 13-21, or 13-18 or whatever misses the point, because it suggests that the books are not for older adults, whereas I would say that in fact the core audience of people reading YA (and YA SFF in particular) are in fact 16-35. But this is only the core and the readership extends more broadly upward in age and down as well.
Garth Nix, originally posted here (and he adds more to it as well, so worth checking out!)