I don’t write for an age group… The only target in my mind is a story, NOT a demographic.
When you’re supposed to be writing for a certain age group, you fall into this trap of what’s allowed, what’s expected. When Meg Rosoff was starting out as a writer, she was worried about what was off limits for YA. Once she accepted the idea that she could write about anything she wanted, she wrote the utterly beautiful How I Live Now (about an anorexic teen who falls in love with her telepathic cousin during a terrorist invasion of England!).
Smith also points out in his post
“YA” didn’t exist when Twain wrote The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, or even when Harper Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird.
And while it’s true that those two classics are often required reading in high school, you won’t find adults looking down their noses at these books or feeling guilty for reading them. It’s not only okay for adults to read these “teen” books, it’s really expected that they’ve read them at some point in their lives. The same is often NOT true for books that are today labeled “YA.”
Of course, there are a lot of reasons to love YA, including the fact that it’s pretty lucrative at the moment and the fact that popular YA books have given reading a boost. In fact, Smith posts about why he loves YA here and here.
Read Smith’s blog post and then tell me: What aspects of the “YA” label frustrate you? What about the label do you think is a plus?