The Potential of YA
Despite its implied age restriction, the young adult genre is also enjoyed through later adulthood and beyond. There is something for everyone in YA as those of any interest can undoubtedly find a book or series within it that they won't be able to get enough of. YA’s distinct ability to draw in people from all walks of life allows it to hold masses of potential in the form of influence as its content can reach a large and diverse audience. What we learn from books can affect us immensely in our own lives, so much so that it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that it need only take one good book to change the minds of a generation. In grabbing the majority of its audience during the more vulnerable self-discovery segment of their lifetime, YA teaches individuals what attitudes should apply to many different situations, with the same impressionable quality applying to those of older generations in a more informative device.
One of the things that makes reading great is that it is alike to having a one sided conversation with an all knowledgeable entity, providing advice through metaphor and moral guidance for us to absorb and apply to ourselves. We live vicariously through the characters, sparing ourselves any personal turmoil but still learning the same lessons the characters do along the way. Books are therefore debatably integral to some people’s understanding of the world, so it is consistently disappointing to see some poorly written or badly plotted novels in YA as they miss a grand opportunity to shape minds. For example, one of the things I feel is lacking in some YA is originality. Although authors do strive to achieve similar positive goals, they do it in such a way that it feels like I’ve read one idea a million times over and then there are unique gems that tick all the boxes, yet get little recognition.
The bottom line is that although there are some great influential pieces out there, and I notice they are on the rise, they can be overshadowed by more mainstream and frankly less relevant novels (i.e. everyone loves a good romance but shouldn’t there be romance novels which have more substance outside of the whole love thing?). Fair enough, some books will be more popular than others but it is a shame some of the preferred texts are so shallow, it gets me wondering about what could happen if people read more topical YA. Would high school culture change, for example? Perhaps for the better? I don’t know, but I think by failing to grasp some serious issues at this age and instead making fun of people for some things can cause a lot of pain that extends past graduation when it isn’t necessary to feel such a way to begin with. Maybe reading something relatable and exciting on such topics could change all of that.
Young adult, then, should be utilised to its fullest potential through tackling a variety of, particularly social, dilemmas such as the need to better understand and accept alternate communities, such as the transgender community. Speaking out on issues at this basic level can make all the difference to the tolerance people have for many issues that, in my opinion, need not be considered issues at all. In this way, YA could not only educate but help and change lives, in turn developing into a genre that not only is widely enjoyed, but one that serves a greater purpose.