Fantasy in Young Adult Literature

2012-Feb-8 -> from the 29-days-of-fantasy department Tags:

There's a growing trend in the industry these days. Literature for young adults that's enjoyable to read by all ages. Today's guest blogger has a pretty good understanding of how and why this seems to be working, and why fantasy is one of the leading genres for the young adult market.

Author Natalie Star

In the last three years young adult author Natalie Star has read 130+ books and written 2 complete novels (one of which is being published) and has 3 more in the works. When she's not reading or writing, she can be found with her husband supporting her two children on the soccer fields. Her family resides in the state of Virginia along with their old, unintelligent, diabetic cat ironically named Lucky.

So here it is, a little bit of insight from an author deeply ingrained in the young adult scene. Take it away, Natalie!

Whether by theme or setting, fantasy has many subgenres: adventure, urban, contemporary, historical, magical, mythical, dark, and paranormal (to name a few).

Over the past decade YA (young adult) fantasy has blown up on the bestsellers lists. With books like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Twilight it's easy to see why. What we may not understand is what makes them so popular with young adults (and the older ones too). To break it down there's usually a good versus evil theme, a hero/protagonist, and a story line of some sort. Then you sprinkle in some relationship issues, maybe a little romance, some action and suspense, and there you go. Young adults read for the same reasons adults do; for entertainment and escape.

Movies, TV, games and music all have rating systems. Books not so much, sometimes you will see them labeled by age, reading level or grade. Other times you will see them listed as "young adult" or "middle grade", it's pretty vague. The YA range is wide, usually ages 12 - 18. Without a set guideline for books, parents can place trust in their children to read what's appropriate, or they can screen the books before the kids get their hands on them.

In writing YA fantasy, I try to make sure the characters and subject matter fit the audience. Writers wouldn't have the same material for the twelve year olds as they would the eighteen year olds. The younger generation would need something simpler and less intimidating. Some fantasy stories can be frightening, while others may contain controversial themes such as; profanity, smoking, drinking, sexuality, drugs, and/or violence. Many of these are sensitive topics, and this is what makes writing in the YA genre difficult. While some parents and other authority figures would rather not see it, the readership might disagree. Teens enjoy reading things they can relate to. Sadly, nowadays many of these issues hit close to home for them. If writers talk their talk, and walk their walk, the youth will be able to identify with the story. Even in fantasy, if you plug in regular teen issues they'll be more likely to enjoy it.

I love writing for young adults in the urban fantasy genre. Writing YA fantasy is fun; it's a place I get to visit where there are no adult responsibilities or obligations to worry about.

Short, but sweet, and insightful. Harry Potter started out targeting the younger end of the young adult spectrum, and as the series progressed, grew darker and more mature. The series grew with its readers. These wildly successful titles always seem to get right to the core of what their targets are interested in.

Thank you, Natalie, for taking the time to participate in 29 days. I know you're a busy person, and I appreciate it.

And as always, my most sincere gratitude goes out to all of my readers. Thank you for visiting, and come back tomorrow for another great 29 days guest blog!

Natalie Star can be found online at

Edit: I forgot to mention this before, but Natalie has generously offered to give away a copy of her eBook, The Keeper, to a random commenter on this post. All give aways will be awarded at the end of the month, so comments are open until then! Good luck!

Thanks for reading!

I'm always interested in hearing what you have to say. Contact Me, I'd love to hear from you.

Don't forget to join in on the conversation in the comments section below.

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