Why I Write "YA"

I have confession to make. I never set out to write “YA.” I really didn’t.

When I wrote UNDER THE NEVER SKY, I wasn’t thinking about the genre.

Here’s what I was thinking:

Life is a choice. Making decisions on your own is hard and it’s scary, but it’s how you discover what you really want.

Life is failure. Making mistakes and recovering from them, is how you discover who you truly are.

Life is disappointment. Some people can’t be trusted. Hard to learn, but it’s the truth.
The good news is that the people who can be trusted more than make up for them.

Life is love--a consuming, wonderful thing that picks you up and throws you down and nothing in this world is harder or better or more beautiful.

I’m still learning these things, but I never felt them as potently as I did as a teenager. Why? Because it’s when you experience them for the first time. It’s when your eyes are opened and from that moment on you are different. You have taken a step toward wisdom. 

I write “YA” because that’s where my story falls in the spectrum of genre labels. But it’s never been the way I see it. What I strive for, when I sit down at my computer, is to write about life.


So true - those feelings are potent during adolescence!

And, um, even now, for those of us who haven't really grown up (and probably never will).

I suppose another question is: why do adults read YA? It probably goes right back to everything you said here, Veronica.

While I was reading Under the Never Sky, I didn't associate it with the YA genre because it wasn't so much important as who else would enjoy this novel as, how much did I enjoy this novel? Since I am slightly past the YA target audience, I feel that since I enjoyed the story, (I can never say enough good things about it)it falls into the ME genre. The ME genre is wherever you see yourself while you're reading that book.
I know that if I picked this book up 6 years ago while I was in high school, I would enjoy it. I also know that if I picked this book up 4 years ago while I was in college, I would also enjoy this story.

For me, genre isn't so much the target audience, but whether or not it falls into the ME genre (literally meaning "me," cause hello! I am the reader).

As to the comment by Beth Hull, I think the reason why adults read YA is because you're still able to learn about yourself through the works of younger characters. I mean, most novels are written by adults and in some ways are targeted towards other adults who are interested in a pasttime, such as their childhood/teenage years. I personally enjoy reading about characters who haven't had as much life experience as older characters because I'm still in that transition stage of being inexperienced and gaining experience, and that usually happens in novels - the character development. It puts me in the mind set of, how would I react in this situation? We're also learning through these characters mistakes, even if something like an Aether storm isn't an average daily worry for most of us. ;)

Thanks for sharing this post, Ms. Rossi!

Thanks for your comment, Beth! I hope I never grow up : )

And Sallie, I totally agree with you about why people read YA. We're always learning more through our experiences & novels allow us that through our characters. Got your awesome note, btw. Thank you! <33

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