In a really good article in The Guardian post the first ever Young Adult Literature Conference (YALC), Imogen Russell looks at what age group YA is aimed at, and how New Adult fits into the picture. The Young Adult Literature Convention took place 12-13 July, bringing together the UK’s YA publishers to provide a host of author events including talks, workshops, signings, as well as a bookshop provided by Waterstones and publisher stands promoting new and upcoming titles. 50 authors plus a host of industry experts took part in the event over the course of the weekend.
An essential read for anyone writing for 12+ Imogen explores what goes and what doesn’t:
In the past, I’ve used the labels “teen” and “YA” interchangeably, but a quick straw poll of aficionados reveals two differing standpoints. Some feel they basically cover the same ground, and others think that while both refer to age categories “teen” covers 12-14, and “YA” is aimed at about 14+. For the latter, the later Harry Potter books, in which torture and murder come to the fore after the gentler series beginnings, would count as “teen”. YA, meanwhile, is more likely to deal frankly with sex, tackle challenging issues and adult relationships, and feature swearing.
YA definitely doesn’t mean a solely young adult readership, unless we elide (or are charitable about) the “young”. At YALC, Meg Rosoff revealed [at YALC] that 55% of YA titles are bought by adults.