Monday, 3 June 2013

Beginning To Wonder About The Definition Of 'Young Adult'

I have published two books for young adults (or teens): Epiworld (2010) and more recently Big Brother, but from what I've seen my definition of young adult doesn't seem to fit the necessary criteria.

Looking at the review sites for this genre, nearly every young adult book runs with familiar themes:

Teen girl falls in love with teen boy etc etc
Teen boy or teen girl grows fangs and becomes a vampire or there's some paranormal weird stuff going on etc etc
Teen boy or teen girl jumps on a spaceship and flies into space
Teen boy or teen girl fights battles with dragons with swords and wear silly clothes

The usual suspects, really.

How worried should I be that my books aren't like that? Epiworld is a futuristic time travel science fiction book, using the platform of epileptic seizures, with an element of fantasy about it, but said teenage boy has no fangs and kind of fancies teenage girl to a point. No kissing, no snogging (how dare I?) He doesn't wear daft clothes nor does he jump onto a spaceship. He fights a battle with a huge robot, though. Big Brother on the other hand is contemporary and present day. It's science fiction, horror and a ghost story rolled into one - that's because everyone, including the reader, is left guessing who Big Brother really is. We don't find out until the end. Lots going on, too.

They're still young adult to me, because they have the following qualities:

Some violence (and no, I'm not saying young adult books have to be violent)
Some bad language, but not too overdone (except for Big Brother maybe, and I did fret over that, but considering the setting you can't expect Mr Darcy to wander in on the action!)
No fairies at the bottom of the garden
No jolly hockey sticks
Characters who take no crap off anyone.

I'm not worried at all. The rest of it's been done to death. If a vampire falls in love with a dragon wearing a bear skin bikini piloting a spaceship then maybe...

Nah. That was in an old episode of Star Trek, wasn't it?

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