What do Twilight, The Hunger Games and The House On Mango Street have in common? All fall into the same literary category – young adult (YA) literature. One takes on vampires, another a bleak, cut throat future for the human race while Mango tackles the profound journey of growing up Latina in Chicago. Wildly different yet all centered on the story of an adolescent protagonist coming of age and overcoming some of the most defining obstacles of their young lives.
Young adult (YA) literature is seeing a huge rise in popularity after the first two aforementioned books were turned into super successful movie franchises. Over the next week L4LL will be celebrating YA literature. Why now? Sure it’s muy trendy right now but it’s also a multifaceted genre with a vast selection for readers of all ages and interests. Not to mention, YA literature could stand to gain from new Latino voices.
In preparing for YA day, I wanted to start with a definition of what exactly constitutes “young adult” however after some Googling around, before speaking with any experts, I quickly learned there’s no real concrete answer. Generally, though not exclusively, there is an adolescent main character, targeted marketing towards young adults, use of contemporary slang, some might argue less complex writing than adult literature (I don’t agree with this one) and adult characters playing a minimal role. However, despite reading through a lot of very stuffy, well-researched pieces online, I found the definition which most resonated with me was found in a simple blog post, “Young adult literature is about discovery; adult literature about re-discovery.”
The beauty of YA literature is how it acts as an umbrella over a multitude of genres. You can have a piece of YA literature which can fall into the fantasy, mystery or romantic category. The possibilities are endless. It’s literature which can appeal to a broad range of readers from your teenage sister to your mami, anyone with a love for a good story can find something to appease their appetite in YA literature.
We’ve got an exciting list of YA literature for and by Latinos to kick off your summer reading. If you’re a bookworm, aspiring writer or both, we invite you to join us to dive in deep into this amazing world of young adults coming into their own. Do you have a favorite young adult literature novel for or by a Latino author? Let us know in the comments!