What is the intended audience for YA books?
And to a lesser extent, are good books just good books?
So I have something that's been going through my head while I've been writing reviews lately... and that is: are some authors writing YA for a YA audience and some are writing with an adult audience in mind, or is good writing just good writing and bad writing is bad?
Ok I love YA and pretty much always have (yes I went through a "Lost Years" phase where I tried to read Adult books, but I wasn't happy doing it). I think it's because I like reading about that time in your life when the possibilities are endless, but at the same time things that usually shouldn't be a big deal feel like it's life or death. You get what I'm saying?? That time in ones life (to me) is like the best and worst time all rolled into one... and once it's gone, it's gone. Once you become an adult and get adult responsibilities and choose your mate and career and all that junk, you just don't have time for all those feelings and drama and just Earth-shattering-ness that is your teenage baggage.
So I know I'm not alone here. It's no secret that tons of adults are reading YA. This fact really surprised me. It wasn't until I started blogging that I realized so many non-teens read and love YA. I was always the person who was like creeping with her sunglasses on in the YA section at the bookstore and library hoping to be all incognito. I felt like I was a weirdo for being in that section. Now I know how dumb that is and I'm completely different about it. Now I'm in the teen section being really annoying and telling people what to buy and stuff.
But I got off track a little... what my original question was: Who are YA authors catering to? The reason I ask this is because recently I've read some books that felt really YOUNG to me. Like the m/c was 16 or 17, but felt so damn immature. More so than I'm used to. And that got me to wondering if maybe those were the books that I was too old to read. Like those are the books that are being written for 16 year-olds, which I am so clearly not. And that maybe those are the books I would have loved at 16. It's hard for me to tell because I didn't read much in high school. I read a lot in middle school, but in high school and college I was too busy with boys and partying and being hungover to read that much.
When I read one of these type books and go to review it, I start wondering if I am being fair to the book. Like is the reason I don't like this book because I am too old to relate to this immature character? And the YA books that I love, are those characters being written as adultish teens? I mean nothing turns me off quicker that an immature, whiney, stupid character. But let's get real... a lot of teenagers are freaking immature and they make a lot of stupid decisions (and yes they probably whine too).
Another thing is say you are reading a book and you are just rolling your eyes like crazy. Because everything that's happening seems super implausible or things just start wrapping up way too easily and neatly for it to ever happen IRL. Those books. Is that just bad writing? Or is it just a matter of taste? Or maybe it's because it's for a teen audience?? I honestly don't know. I do know when I was in high school I was definitely less jaded and would believe in easy love stories more than I would now. And that's kind of what is making me think some of this stuff.
The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart- I felt like Ruby was a quirky, fun, realistic teenage character. She had her issues and she acts like a teenage completely, but she wasn't annoying or immature.
Solving for Ex by Leigh Ann Kopans, Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill, Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald, The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg- All featured characters that felt younger and more annoying and immature than the usual YA-er IMO.
So who are these books being written for? Teens, adults, both?? And are teens being written (for the most part) as more mature to appeal to us adults?? Or is this all in my head?