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Young adult literature is similar to children's literature, except that the protagonists and intended audience are typically teenagers instead of younger children. The stories are not designed to be read aloud by parents, but are usually stories that teenagers can and would be interested in reading on their own. As such, they are more mature than children's literature, and can deal with controversial themes such as sex, relationships, depression, suicide, bullying, anorexia and rebellion.
A Wall Street Journal article entitled Darkness Too Visible criticised YA as being 'rife with explicit abuse, violence and depravity'. The reaction within the YA community trended worldwide on twitter under #yasaves. The rebuttals included the argument that real life can be dark, and that fiction can help teens with little life-experience deal with difficult situations, and that YA saves, because YA understands.
Like children's literature, YA can be morality tales. They can also express frustration at authority, and as such often try to avoid any overt preaching.
However, there are also many stories in this genre that use realism and focus on growing up and relationships, like Judy Bloom's "Are you there God? It's me, Margaret" and John Marsden's "Letters from the inside". They may also discuss self-harm, depression, suicide, drug use, sexual abuse and many other controversial issues, targeted specifically at a teen audience that often interacts with these issues differently than other age groups.
|Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.
A partial list of fandoms based on YA literature:
- Animorphs[note 1]
- Baby-Sitters Club
- The Dark is Rising
- Eight Days of Luke
- Fear Street
- The Folk of the Air
- The Goddess Test
- His Dark Materials
- Howl's Moving Castle
- The House with a Clock in Its Walls
- The Hunger Games
- Hush, Hush
- Lockwood & Co
- Loki: Where Mischief Lies
- The Mortal Instruments
- The Outsiders
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians
- The Raven Cycle
- Red Queen
- The Selection
- Shatter Me
- The Summer I Turned Pretty
- Throne of Glass
- To All the Boys I've Loved Before
- Vampire Academy
- Warrior Cats
- Darkness Too Visible: Contemporary fiction for teens is rife with explicit abuse, violence and depravity. Why is this considered a good idea? on The Wall Street Journal
- An Open Letter to the Wall Street Journal
- The Animorphs books were marketed to children as young as six and many fans first encountered them between ages 6–10, but the subject matter (war, trauma, body horror, murky ethics, and genocide, for example) indicates to many people that the books should be considered YA instead of children's literature.