Recently, whilst organising my Goodreads shelves, I noticed I had both shelves for ‘teen’ and ‘young adult’. I was tempted to merge the two, but actually upon looking at the books in question I realised I do actually distinguish between them. I wondered if anyone else did this, or whether a lot of people lump all books for teens into young adult.
By ‘teen’ I don’t mean middle grade OR young adult, but in fact somewhere in between. Here’s how I distinguish between the two:
- Generally for a younger audience than young adult fiction, perhaps ages 11-14 so just a little older than middle grade (which to me is 9-12, so there is some overlap).
- I see it as a transition from middle grade books, but not quite reaching the content of young adult fiction.
- It’s often focused on lighter elements, for example friendships, first crushes, shopping etc!
- Tends to be more realistic or contemporary.
- I’ve noticed that it’s more often gender specific.
Examples of ‘teen’ fiction:
Young Adult fiction
- In my eyes these books are aimed at 15 year olds and upwards. Yes, even adults.
- Contain ‘heavier’ issues such as relationships, sex, drugs, alcohol, family problems, abuse etc.
- It’s moved on from first crushes to first kisses and first loves.
- Less of a gender focus.
- Spans all sorts of genres: contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, paranormal etc.
- Generally a lot more emotional, typically a darker feel.
- That’s not to say that all YA books are full of these sorts of issues. I just feel that they’re much more likely to address them.