YA and fantasy

Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by GiovanniDeFeo, Nov 6, 2017.

  1. Darth Tater

    Darth Tater Journeyed there and back again

    Yep! I avoid MOST* YA like the plague. There may be an important adult message below the surface but I cannot deal with a cutsie wise as King Solomon nine year old kid who teaches all the adults around them valuable lessons.

    KI disliked book one of His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass) and had no interest in reading the remainder of the series. Unlike most detractors I LIKED the anti-Narnia theme but hated the method of presentation.

    *Planning to read Neil Gaiman's Stardust and mayhap The Graveyard Book. Can anyone offer feedback on this? Also, I loved Ocean At The End Of The Lane. Was that YA? Is an "adult fairy tale" considered YA? Any clarification, advice, etc. would be greatly appreciated!
  2. GiovanniDeFeo

    GiovanniDeFeo Might as well be a Malazan regular

    Well, Stardust is brilliant, I think. The Graveyard book... well, that's really YA stuff.
    Which means it's a watered-down version of the very adult Jungle Books. Which are books for children, but written by someone who had the highest regard for the latter. That's the point, I think. A YA can be one, if the reader decides it is. If a writer consciously writes one, thnt you have all the supercilousness you wrote about.
  3. MorteTorment

    MorteTorment Knows Who John Uskglass Is

    Hmm...never heard of that word before.
  4. GiovanniDeFeo

    GiovanniDeFeo Might as well be a Malazan regular

    That's the good thing of being a not-native speaker, when in doubt, make up one!
  5. Darth Tater

    Darth Tater Journeyed there and back again

    Posteretic license.
  6. GiovanniDeFeo

    GiovanniDeFeo Might as well be a Malazan regular

    As opposed to Prostetic license. Or worse, Prostatic.
  7. MorteTorment

    MorteTorment Knows Who John Uskglass Is

    Ok, then just please tell me what the made up word means, because this is maddening!
  8. GiovanniDeFeo

    GiovanniDeFeo Might as well be a Malazan regular

  9. GiovanniDeFeo

    GiovanniDeFeo Might as well be a Malazan regular

  10. jo zebedee

    jo zebedee Journeyed there and back again

    Ocean is generally seen as YA.

    I'll call out a couple of faves/ fav authors in genre:

    Peadar O'Guillin's The Call - fabulous. Winning awards. You'll thank me later...

    Marcus Sedgwick - very intelligent writer, lovely smooth style

    Patrick Ness - his mini cliffhangers irk me but his worldbuilding etc is great

    Roddy Doyle - of The Commitments fame. His YA is loved by my kid :)
  11. Darth Tater

    Darth Tater Journeyed there and back again

    Funny you should say that. Are you talking about Ocean At The End Of The Lane? I loved it and while others may think of it that way I never did. In fact Miss, I started a book yesterday that I'm enjoying very much. Very much indeed. It constantly reminds me of Ocean (yet it's also very different) and I never considered this one YA either. I'm on page 133 of 183 and I'm on the edge of my seat but I'm too tired to finish it tonight. The author's name escapes me at the moment (like I said, I'm sleepy) but the book hasn't been out very long. It's titled something like Waters And the Wild. Perhaps you've heard of it before? ;)
  12. Peat

    Peat Journeyed there and back again

    I don't really read YA and never have been big into it. As a kid, I only discovered YA and the concept of it when I was 17 i.e. on the verge of outgrowing the category anyway, and I only discovered it when I was using a small library where I'd read all of the fantasy apart from the YA shelf. I'd have probably walked past if I hadn't seen some Pratchett stuff there. I read some of the Tamora Pierce 'Song of the Lionness' stuff that summer, it was pretty cool.

    Prior to that I'd read all of the Brian Jacques 'Redwall' series as well as Narnia. Later I read Harry Potter and parts of Pratchett's Tiffany Aching series.

    I also recently read a book called Heart Blade by a friend. It was very much everything I'd believed to be modern YA to be. I enjoyed it! I did. But it did manage to feel a bit stereotypical to someone who'd never even read the genre.

    I guess for me there's two ways of defining YA, particularly when stood next to the trad fantasy bildungsroman. No, wait, three.

    1) Something like the Wheel of Time is about growing up, viewed after the fact by an adult who believes the most important thing is that they became an adult. YA is generally more about the actual growing up - all the petty dramas, the wild emotions - and less about charting the arc of personal development. Less about the end goal and more about the process. Does that makes sense? It does to me but I feel like I've explained it badly.

    2) YA is what publishers think will have a big skew towards teenage buyers and limited profitability in the adult market. YA-esque books that they can sell to adults are still adult books.

    3) YA increasingly seems to be trad fantasy bildungsromans but in UF settings and for girls. Or at least, what girls are perceived to want. I feel like the more a book trends towards being female friendly, the more likely it is to be marketed as YA (that or romance). Ditto female authors seems to be gently encouraged to one of those two areas.

    I dunno. I feel like there's some good stuff in the genre, I'd like to be more into it. But... not enough to actually delve in.
  13. jo zebedee

    jo zebedee Journeyed there and back again

    :D - yay! Ty :) (It would pull on the same influences as Ocean at the End of the Lane - the mix of real world with other world, almost verging on magical realism)

    I don't think Ocean is a YA book really - but it does tend to be stocked there a lot. Part of that is length but part of it is also the feel and the protagonist's age. But, for me, the feel and themes are more adult than teenage.

    And there, for me, is the trouble with YA. What is To Kill a Mockingbird? What's Lord of the Flies? They both fit the YA descriptors but they're read by adults....

    I had real trouble finding a publisher for Inish Carraig - not because they didn't like the book but because they struggled to place the book. Why? Partly it has a teenage and adult at the centre of it and doesn't sit well with the marketing needs) And yet the market (of both age groups) love it.

    Which is why, for me, things like Ocean are more complex than they should be.

    @Peat - interesting point, the last one. I have the odd comment about rebranding myself as a YA writer. The most persistent of these comes from someone who has read both Inish and Abendau's Heir. And yet I struggle to see how Heir, once read in its entirety, can be seen as YA. Let alone the next two. Perhaps it is a subconscious thing about where a woman writer fits.
  14. Peat

    Peat Journeyed there and back again

    I did once read something that said half of all YA fiction is read by adults anyway. Which makes sense. There's a lot more of us and we have a lot more disposable income.

    Jo - I think I've suggested it myself - or at least asked if you'd considered it. It doesn't make huge amounts of sense in terms of what you write but it does make a certain amount of sense in terms of who gets shuffled where.

    Does Abendau's Heir fit in the YA category? Honestly... not if the parents are watching but, like, teenagers are gruesome little things, I think it would go down well them in its entirety.

    But really if you wanted to rebrand as YA, I think you'd have to write a new set of books to go YA with. Your current set all show elements that would appeal, but none are out and out of the genre. And be disciplined about staying within the genre on the new ones. Aaaand my ears must be magic, because I can hear you saying "Oh hell no" all the way over the sea.

    Hmm. I suppose one possible difference between YA and all those 80s bildungsromans that happen to be about a teenage protagonist surrounded by adults is that in the 80s, you'd have one teenager or maybe two teenagers surrounded by adults. It was teenagers interacting with adult shizzle.

    Most YA features lots and lots of teenagers, with the adults in the minority when it comes to page time. The teenagers need to be front and centre for it to be truly YA.
  15. jo zebedee

    jo zebedee Journeyed there and back again

    OH HELL, NO! ;):D
  16. GiovanniDeFeo

    GiovanniDeFeo Might as well be a Malazan regular

    That is very interesting. I think you put it quite nicely yourself, I'll see if I can articulate it in another way.
  17. Alice Sabo

    Alice Sabo A Muggle

    I love Juliet Marillier's books and her protagonists are very young. I'm not sure that I would call them YA. Most of the times her characters are fighting for their lives, or working through the horrors of living under a curse. I think I've read most of her books. Although the one series she wrote with a young male protagonist didn't suck me in as quickly. And I am loving her new series with adults - Blackthorn and grim.

    Loved reading Harry Potter and I'm an old fart. I think if the story is compelling, I really don't care about the age of the protagonist.
  18. GiovanniDeFeo

    GiovanniDeFeo Might as well be a Malazan regular

    I think what bothers me of YA is what Peat said, the petty dramatizations of the growing up part. While what I like is a literary imaginary that is pure and powerful, in the same sense Treasure Island had one.

    In Italy we used to call them 'books for boys', which is of course sexist, because if you say 'for girls' you meant something else. What YA had come to mean though is book for juvenile adults, which in a ways is the opposite of what they should be. That way I think that children books can be purer and more sophisticated that YA books. (Of course they are exceptions for this, and I have mentioned a couple).
  19. Darth Tater

    Darth Tater Journeyed there and back again

    Funny. I agree. :) GGK is my favorite fantasy author and I still have 3 or 4 books to savor (I space them out over many months so I don't run out) but even so I had no interest in reading Ysabel as it is categorized as YA. I read the plot summary and I'm glad I am skipping it. Had you labeled Waters And The Wild YA I would've passed on it. It never had that feel to me either. Which reminds me to bug you about a sequel in another thread! :p
  20. jo zebedee

    jo zebedee Journeyed there and back again

    Waters is, I think, technically New Adult - which features characters around university age. But it doesn't deal with the sort of themes NA books want, so I decided to just go for an adult labelling and have done with it!

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