Young Adult (YA) Literature as a genre is not new; however, its popularity has sustained the weakening publishing market. The YA genre has kept many a publisher in the black, as the genre has a wide crossover appeal. Frankly, we have witnessed the genre balloon during the last ten years. Many have thanked J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter Series for this. I thank her for the great series and more.
I never really stopped reading YA lit. I think I dove into the genre more so once my eldest daughter became interested in the genre. Here my interest was really two-fold: my love of reading and want to discuss literature with her. Win-win. However, as an educator I have to say that I have found YA lit useful in the classroom. The genre has politics, gender, class, race, sexuality, nation, democracy and more discussed within its pages. And, the students really enjoy re-reading a book with a different theoretical lens. I have also had a chance to meet new people online and in real life (IRL) and have had great conversations about YA lit.
In my Women’s Studies and Political Science courses, I have actually offered a paper option that required students to read pre-approved YA Lit books and discuss course concepts in the books. Depending on the class, these assignments have been popular. The best part for me is the assessment of the assignment and reading how a student has reassessed a much-loved book in a different fashion and has a different feel for the book. How cool is that?