Monday, January 31, 2011

Young Adult vs Young Reader

I have been contemplating a topic for awhile, and I would like to post some clarification about it. The topic is young readers.

Where does a young reader stop and a young adult begin? Where do the middle readers fit in? How old is a young reader? How old is a young adult? When does a young adult stop being a young adult and simply become an adult? And how does it all relate to books?!

Here's my thought; I like binaries. I know that the world is full of grays, but black and white is so much easier to handle. So for the sake of my blog and my references, I will whittle it down to two categories: Young Readers and Young Adult.

A Young Reader is anyone old enough to read, through approximately middle school. Young Readers books are frequently fanciful and magical. Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. Young Reader stories should be about other kids, overcoming obstacles and encountering new and wondrous things in the world. As an adult, I like Young Reader novels immensely.

A Young Adult is usually a high school or young college student. Their books are less about fantasy and more grounded in reality, dealing with the things that teenagers face: drugs, sex, self-image, etc. A Young Adult novel could also be of the paranormal persuasion--think Twilight, City of Glass, etc.

What do you think? Do you agree with my definitions? Do you have any categories not listed here?


  1. I'm not very familiar with young reader literature and I haven't read a young adult novel in some time, but from what I have read in the past, I definitely agree with the characteristics you've listed for modern young adult novels. :)

    I don't have a particular name for it, but I feel there is a category of classics that appeal to or are relevant to young adults. Novels that I would place in this category include titles such as "Lord of the Flies", "To Kill a Mockingbird", "All Quiet on the Western Front" and "The Great Gatsby". The books in this category are likely to be studied in high schools, feature younger protagonists, and comment on societal issues.

  2. Ferrinas~
    Thank you for your thoughtful feedback! I think that those classics that we all studied in high school English fit in nicely to the Young Adult category. They deal with slightly more mature topics than Judy Blume would tend to, but they are still accessible to young people.