As a collection development librarian who selects materials for the teen collection, I’ve noticed a trend: there is more mature content in some YA books. Many books are being labeled with a 14 (or even 15 or 16) and up target audience, instead of 12 and up, the entire span of the traditional age designation of young adult literature. I am careful when I put together my orders to balance books that have appeal to older teens and adults with those titles that I can give to parents who are looking for books to ease their new 11-year-old sixth grader into the YA section of the library because he’s already read everything in the children’s room. I sometimes worry that with the growing popularity of YA fiction for adult audiences, there will be a push to market YA to adult readers and the category will cater to them, and there will be less choice and variety for those readers in the range on the upper end of middle grade or lower end of YA.
I want to be sure there are books for all sorts of teens represented in the category of YA fiction. When adults start appropriating YA literature, and marketing firms start defining what young adult literature is and who it is for and talking about these books in terms of profits and sales, I can get defensive. YA literature should first and foremost be for teens. Continue reading Who Is Young Adult Literature For?