What Type of YA Lit Is Best for You?

Listen, I love YA Lit as much as the next guy or gal. But, I think, a lot of people, even seasoned readers, don’t realize that there are many faces to Young Adult Literature… like, there are sub-genres within sub-genres of YA and Teen Literature!

Okay, think of it like this: a book that’s categorized as YA Lit can also be categorized as, say, action & adventure… or romance… or horror… or historical… or action & adventure & romance & horror & historical all at once. You get what I’m saying?

The only thing that, usually, makes a YA book a YA book is the main character’s age throughout the book. Like, the MC is typically a teen or young adult, making the story, well, the story of a teen or young adult. Now, there are always going to be exceptions to that rule, of course, but… what I’m saying, I guess, is that the teen fiction/young adult lit genre is wide and vast. There are so many of these types of books, and it makes so much more sense to sub-categorize them so we can find exactly the right type of YA Lit for us!

So, dear friends, follow along with me as we discover each sub-type of YA Literature… and figure out with one is just right for you!

Fantasy & Sci-Fi

Fantasy books are awesome. They are legitimately the definition of a book that takes you out of this world… and into a completely different one. I also like to think that YA fantasy is one of the most popular genres ever known to be, and there always seems to be a new teen fantasy series coming out every other weekend at Barnes & Noble.

Sci-Fi books, which are pretty similar, are identical to the fantasy genre in that they literally take readers out of this world, but they do so with a lot of techy twists. You know what I mean–think space travel and light sabers and such.

Okay, here’s how you know whether fantasy or sci-fi YA lit is for you… think of what kind of stereotypical superhero you’d like to be. No, seriously, think. Would you rather be someone that’s like a wizard with magical abilities that just come out of thin air, or would you rather be some scientific genius that can concoct anything just by typing in some formula into a computer?

If you’d rather be a wizard, then fantasy is for you. If you’d rather be the mad scientist, then you gotta hit up some sci-fi.

Get Started with These Reads:

Romance & Chick Lit

Romance is probably the second most popular YA sub-genre. Or, at least, I’d say so.

Well, we all know what romance is–it’s all about relationships. Of course, though, YA romance is a tad different. This specific type of romance can be more about first love and, quite frankly, super awkward first relationships. Which can be funny, too, and we all love a good rom-com!

Chick lit is similar in that it can include romantic sub-points, but the main plot of the book will revolve around the lives and issues of women and girls. That’s not to say other genders can’t enjoy them, too, just like we can’t say adults can’t enjoy young adult books! Oops, that was a double negative…

One good one to know if you’ll like teen romance books is if you also like adult romance books. And, if you’ve never tried any romance books of any type, I’d suggest just trying a YA romance to see if you’ll like it! A good way to know if you’ll like YA chick lit, too, is to think of the types of TV shows you normally watch. Yes, really–the type of things you like to watch on TV are similar to the types of things you’ll like to read in books. Chick lit is oftentimes mixed in with drama categories, so if you like watching dramatic shows, you’ll probably like reading teen chick lit, too.

Get Started with These Reads:

Mystery & Psychological Thriller

Mystery and psychological thriller books are a little less common in the young adult world, but that’s just what makes them true hidden gems. These are often the “whodunnit” kinds of books, but they really can also be anything that just messes with your head. You know, twist endings you didn’t see coming and all.

You’ll know mystery and psychological thriller books of the YA category are for you if you really like mystery/psychological movies/films. You can think of Sherlock Holmes-esque films, but, honestly, you can also think of movies with those twist endings… like Fight Club. Honestly, that one really messed with my brain.

Get Started with These Reads:

Thriller, Horror, & Suspense

Oh, scary books, scary books, scary books… you either love them or you hate them. But, really, there is a wide spectrum of thrillers, horrors, and suspenses even within that broad range of teen fiction, and they range from bone-chilling to mildly spooky, so there is a little something for everyone, I think.

Now, if you’re interesting in picking up a scary YA lit book, you’ll probably know it right away. We all know our preferences when it comes to the scary stuff, a lot like how we all know our limits when it comes to, say, spicy foods. So, if looking at those books covers makes you intrigued even the slightest bit, you should probably go check them out. And, if being spooked out isn’t your deal, then don’t feel pressured to pick any scary teen fiction books up at all. I personally don’t like scary stuff all that much, so I read these in moderation for sure!

Get Started with These Reads:

Action & Adventure

Sometimes, I think the action and adventure category gets a little mixed up with the fantasy and sci-fi category. Because, while there are usually elements of action and adventure in those fantasy/sci-fi books, there are tons of other books that just focused on the action and adventure without fantasy or sci-fi elements.

YA books with a focus on action and adventure pretty much always have an intricate, engaging plot line. I mean, if your characters are going on a journey, they’re going to be doing a lot of things and getting involved in a lot of action! The types of adventures YA characters go on are as vast as the YA category itself, but you can usually expect action-packed scenes that move things along really quickly.

I personally really like the action and adventure sub-category of YA books, and I like to think it’s because I like stories that move along really fast and that don’t have much, if any, down time in them. If you like books like that, too, then give some of these a try!

Get Started with These Reads:

Humor & Comedy

Last but certainly not least on our list of teen fiction sub-categories today is the humorous and comedic category. Ah, yes, this one is my favorite… because I love to laugh!

Books that incorporate elements of humor and comedy almost always incorporate elements of other book genres because, well, something has to happen to make us laugh, whether it be a failed battle scene on the planet GruGru in a sci-fi thriller or an awkward first date for a young couple in a romance. And, speaking of which, rom coms are always in style because they mix comedy and romance together so well!

I would like to say that comedic YA books are for everyone, but, as with all other genres, that may not be true for you. So, I’d like to also say that if you like watching comedies on TV or at the movie theater, then you’ll probably like reading a comedy, too!

Get Started with These Reads:

Okay, so, there are obviously so many more sub-categories of teen fiction, and then, as I mentioned way above, many sub-categories within sub-categories, but the ones I have listed here are the ones I wanted to share with you today. I didn’t list so many as to get you overwhelmed, but I still made sure I listed enough to give you plenty of options.

Read through the descriptions of each young adult lit sub-category, figure out which one(s) you’re going to love, and then get to reading the starter kits I’ve listed!

Oh, and as always, be sure to let me know which categories are your faves below.

–Kari

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