Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Changing Face of YA Literature

Last weekend I was so excited to see my good writer buddy, Lisa Gail Green--author of Soul Crossed, participate in an author panel at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena. That bookstore is such a blast! I could've spent the whole day in there.

Anyway, the topic of Lisa's panel was "The Changing Face of YA Literature." Other authors on the panel were Francesca Lia Block, Lissa Price, and Nicole Maggi. It was moderated by Erika Jelinek.

I took a few notes during the discussion. The authors gave really good answers to timely topics. Here's a short summary:

Research shows that about 50% of YA books are read by adults. The authors were asked, "Does this change the way you write?"

Lisa Gail Green--No, it doesn't change the way she writes (thank goodness!). She tells the story that needs to be told. YA writers can be fearless with their choices of topics.

The authors were asked why they think older readers like to read YA books?

Nicole Maggi--Voice. YA books are often about misunderstood teens. These stories take adult readers back to that tumultuous time. It reminds us of what it was like escape into our favorite books.

How do these authors tap in to an authentic teen voice?

Lisa Gail Green--she uses her acting background to insert herself into the role of her characters. She tackles the types of problems real teens face--problems that seem bigger than life, with high drama and strong emotions.

What makes YA books so appealing?

Nicole Maggi--many teens want to be normal, but wouldn't it be cool if they were called to be a super hero? Most people wish they were extraordinary in real life. But if we were called to do that, would we? YA books explore the possibilities.

Diversity in YA books...

Lissa Price--she pointed out that it would be great if the characters' faces in YA books better reflected the faces in the classroom.

(Leslie Rose, Lisa Gail Green, and yours truly)

There was so much great information packed in the short amount of time, and I only scratched the surface. Be sure to click on the author links above. They had some amazing books on display.

What do you think of this topic? What's your opinion on the changing face of YA literature? Or literature and publishing in general?


  1. You are grinning big!
    Doesn't surprise me so many adults read the genre. They're looking back and remembering. (And probably really glad they got out of their teen years alive.)

  2. Sounds like such a great presentation. Awesome that you got to go.

  3. I feel very conflicted on the topic. I have two series based on teen girls with adult problems. I originally wrote them without the intent of them being YA...but afterward worried if adults would enjoy reading about my teens' adventures. So you've answered a part of my dilemma. But I hate to explicitly label them as YA, even though I'm sure teens will love them. So I started out merely expressing the stories were about a teen in the blurb. Hmmm

  4. That sounds like so much fun. I love author panels. And I do know lots of adults read YA books. I'm so glad there's good reading material for young people out there.

  5. I would have loved that panel! And I am totally part of that 50%, heh. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I was so impressed by this panel. Intelligent, witty women all. Those teen years continue to resonate with me, that golden time when we set our course to tackle the world. I'll never get enough of reading tales from fellow travelers through those tumultuous waters.