YA, for those of you who refused or were too lazy to Google it, is an abbreviation for Young Adult. It’s that popular umbrella that includes stories like the Hunger Games, the Divergent series, Harry Potter, Fault In Our Stars, City of Bones, the Twilight series, and a whole bunch more. They are stories that are aimed at the young to mid teen crowd, but somehow have readers who are old enough to pay taxes. Their plots are always about young people (ages 10-20 or so) and the worst thing that could ever happen to them, usually happens to them. For instance, if Game of Thrones were taken entirely from Arya Stark’s point of view, it would probably be considered a YA story. And yes, sometimes these stories are that messed up. Or worse. Depending on who you ask.
So for those of you who never got on this band wagon of really, really horrible things happening to kids who (more often than not) did not deserve all that happens to them, I’ll try to explain why Hollywood and book publishers are going so ga-ga over it. Because this fad isn’t going away any time soon.
1) The world the story is taking place in is a lot more interesting than the real thing
If you go outside in real life, the likelihood of something fantastical happening is pretty low. In stories, anything can happen. The greatest power YA has at its disposal is world building. Look there’s a dragon! Why is there a dragon? Who cares. Dragon. Did ya read that? Can you picture a dragon? Can you picture a dragon on top of a rock? Can you picture a dragon on top of a rock breathing fire? That’s cool right?
“Adult Stories,” are usually about the real world and how messed up it is. YA stories, even ones that are supposed to take place in our world, are about changing the world or at least how one sees it. They have hope. And sometimes dragons.
2) Just because it isn’t written well, doesn’t mean it isn’t good
Look, everyone knows it isn’t Shakespeare. And some aren’t even THAT badly written. Okay….maybe some are. But that’s not the point. The plot doesn’t have to make sense. It just has to be fun. Sharknado and Pacific Rim both had more plot holes than a cheese grater. And both are getting sequels. And don’t tell me you aren’t excited. Even if you hated both of those movies, you know you’re gonna go see them. Because sometimes the punch line is enough. It’s a movie about sharks in a tornado killing people, it’s about giant robots beating up aliens, it’s about a boy who goes to magic school fights against the most powerful dark wizard ever, it’s about a girl who fights to the death in a televised event with a bow and arrow, it’s about two people with cancer who fall in love, etc. When your topic is solid enough, the story almost writes itself.
3) Someone is shirtless at one point in time
Every single major YA plotline has someone shirtless at some point. Every. Single. One.
Sex sells. That’s a fact. And its supposedly for younger people, so the “sex” is actually pg-13 rated. Meaning that parents can rest easy, young teens can feel naughty, and the twenty and thirty year olds can collectively roll their eyes and the incessant hand touches and ‘romantic’ eye-gazing.
4) They have some of the Coolest and Weirdest merchandise
Jewelry, toys, posters, clothes, shoes, underwear, phone covers, chocolate bar wrappers, pillows, celebrity cut outs, bed spreads, body lotions, checkbook covers, furniture, mouse pads, condoms, sex toys (for men and women), and even light bulbs. Seriously. Every YA book that has been made into a movie has a list on Google that can only be defined as “weird merchandise.” Except for “Fault In Our Stars.” Instead they just put, “Okay? Okay,” on everything. Which is weird in its own way.
5) You can pretend that you’re the hero and your life is special and cool.
5) Characters in YA stories eat food all the time. Ya know? Like normal people.
Most adult books sort of glaze over the whole eating thing. YA stories? Not only are their multiple occasions when they eat. Not only is the first time you see a character eat, it’s happening during some kind of milestone. But YA stories go into great detail what they are eating, even if it’s made up food.
Food wins over all.