The Changing Face of YA

To get in the zone for my current work in progress, I’ve been reading a lot of YA lately. One of the trends I’m noticing is how much YA has changed in 20+ years. Gone are the romantic and mystery series, and in their place are gritty historicals, hope driven dystopians and supernatural star-crossed romances. Looking back, I don’t remember a whole lot of YA appealing to me. I moved on to adult fiction by the time I entered junior high. Lucky for me, YA today has great crossover appeal. Victoria Hanley even speculates that 47% of women and 24% of men ages 18-24 still read YA. Even a current article in Writer’s Digest contends a new sub-genre of YA is on the rise online and soon to hit book and mortar store shelves. It’s New Adult and centers on characters in their early twenties struggling with adult responsibilities (think Gossip Girl) while still feeling the pull of teen fears and anxieties.

In researching the fifties, what amazes me is the ages current publishers are targeting, were the same ages many teens marched to the alter (average age for women was 19, men 22, qtd in Stuart A. Kallen, The 1950s). I can’t image marrying someone in my teens or early twenties. There are still people that marry out of high school, and I commend them for it. I just couldn’t image myself doing the same. I didn’t know what I wanted out of a significant other much less myself in my early twenties. Much of the YA I’m reading, kids aren’t contemplating marriage either. I guess the state of YA fiction and marriage has changed, I think both are a good thing.


  • Brown, Teri. “New Adult The Next Big Thing?” Writer’s Digest, July/August 2013, pgs. 28-30.
  • Falk, Kathryn and Cindy Savage. How to Write a Novel for Young Readers and Get it Published
  • Kallen, Stuart A. The 1950s. A cultural history of the United States Through the Decades, series. San Diego, California: Lucent Books, Inc., 1999, pg. 53.
  • Halverson, Deborah. Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2011.
  • Hanley, Victoria. Wild Ink. Second Edition. Waco, Texas: Prufrock Press Inc., 2012.

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