For months I’ve been trying to discover what the difference is between young adult fiction and teen fiction. Although I scoured the internet for a clear difference between the two, after all they are two separate genres, I couldn’t find what I was looking for. A lot of what I read was mixed in what they were saying.
But in this post I hope to try and make it clearer and throw my opinion into the mix of it all.
Teen fiction seems to be the more obvious genre since your teens are a defined stage in your younger years. Teen fiction therefore targets an audience of people between the ages of 12-18 (possibly including 19?) This genre can potentially deal with issues of school, puberty, relationships, family, friendships, drama, mental health, and so on. They can pretty much deal with a range of issues involving growing up and finding themselves as individuals in this world.
Young adult fiction, on the other hand, is what people comment on differently. Whereas teen fiction is generally accepted to be targeting teens as I said previously, the specific age range for YA literature is very subjective. Some sources say that YA is for the youth aged 12-18, whilst on the other hand it some people believe that YA can run to those in their early 20s too. With this subjective nature it can be hard to pin down a readership audience since it isn’t clear cut and it can often be mixed with teen fiction.
To add to the mix, a step up from YA literature is New Adult (NA) literature. NA literature is said to be a developing genre of fiction involving protagonists between the ages of 18 and 30, some saying that the age bracket it 18-25. It’s all very confusing, and I’m not entirely myself where I stand with different sources saying different things. I could probably write a whole separate blog post on YA vs. NA fiction sometime in the future.
In my opinion, I feel as though YA is targeted for a more younger audience, but maybe not as young as 12 or 13. I would define the YA genre as the type of genre that can range from those in their mid to late teens and run into their early twenties, although this isn’t definitive of YA literature.
I suppose what I’m trying to say in this post is that there is no wrong or right answer about the scope of YA literature and the protagonists that you find in this genre. As I said earlier, defining YA fiction is very tricky and subjective and people are going to have different opinions on what they believe YA fiction should be defined as. In this case, there seems to be no right and wrong answer. You may have a different opinion to me as to what YA fiction is, and that’s perfectly okay.
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