I guess I started reading YA fiction with the Harry Potter series, since it bridges that gap between MG and YA. Since then, I’ve read dozens of YA books in all different genres. Below are (most of) the genres of young adult fiction, with just a few of my favourites, and down the bottom is a poll for you to choose your favourite genre.
Contemporary is your classic John Green, or Meg Cabot, or Stephen Chbosky. It’s a book that’s set in real life, usually high school, usually about “issues” or “boyfriends.” It’s the type of YA that I love to write and read. Usually either a) incredibly funny or b) incredibly sad and beautiful. Of course, it could be both a) and b) in which case it is most probably MY favourite book of this genre: The Fault in Our Stars (yes, sorry, I’m unoriginal).
Fantasy is another genre in YA that I love. This is everything from Harry Potter to the Inheritance series to The Mortal Instruments. Characterised by, well, fantasy. “Fantasy” usually means magic, either in an urban setting (hence, urban fantasy, or UF), or in another world altogether. There are different classifications of fantasy, like high fantasy, dark fantasy, magical realism and science fantasy (like Doctor Who). My favourite for this genre (apart from Harry Potter, which is a given) is His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman.
When I think sci-fi, I generally think futuristic setting, lots of technology, maybe a few aliens and space. But sci-fi has a few different sub-categories as well: dystopian, like The Hunger Games, science fantasy and space opera. It’s a very diverse category. For this section, I love A Wrinkle in Time, or Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – both great books, and maybe not YA, but too bad.
Pretty self-explanatory, right? This one is the opposite to sci-fi, in that it’s set in the past. Usually things are re-imagined by the author, putting a unique spin on historical events (eg Pompeii) or characters (eg Hitler). The Book Thief is one of my favourites. But this section is going to have to go to Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, by our own Katie.
The phenomenon of Twilight has made this genre famous. They often have a strong romantic plot, and often between a human and a vampire/angel/warlock. If it has a black cover and a one-word title, it’s probably paranormal. I’m kidding, of course. I really do love paranormal fiction – some of it, at least. In this genre, I love Fallen by Lauren Kate.
I’m putting these two together because I don’t actually see much of crime in YA. And if there is crime, it takes a back seat to the major genre, like fantasy or science fiction. In this genre, I love The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson. Though she doesn’t normally write thrillers, I loved it even more than her contemporary books. Ghosts, Jack the Ripper and an English boarding school? Yes please.
But even though I’ve made this list, I’m sure most of you know that YA books overlap into many different genres. Okay, so you probably won’t find a historical science fiction with paranormal elements and a strong contemporary plot (although, if someone does, please let me know immediately). I think it’s great that authors are breaking the boundaries, though.
So now it’s thinking time: which genre is your favourite to read?
OH, and PS. Ahem. Important announcement. If your book is polished, ready to query, and is YA or NA, there will soon be a THING on this blog. Yes, that’s right, a thing. Are you excited yet? You should be. Stay tuned for our announcement tomorrow!