Is the bar lower, or higher, for Young Adult than it is for New Adult or Adult novels?

First, I would like to say thank you to Sammy. He helped give me some insight and examples that made this post possible, because let’s be honest, my motivation is at an all-time low. His help means that I got up out of my slump and wrote this with vigour! Enjoy!
~ Emma

This is a tough one. Young Adult is held in very high esteem, as although the plots and characters are targeted to relate to the younger spectrum of adults (even though none of us knows how to adult), the readers are not limited to young adults themselves. YA is read by people of all ages, from children who read above their grade to adults who find the NA and Adult novels boring and monotonous.

I’m faced with the issue that people of all ages have always faced, and been a little riffed by :

You have to respect your elders!
This applies to all areas of life. Don’t talk back, agree with everything they say, and most importantly, do as you’re told. This applies to the world of literature, as well, as much as we may try to avoid it. It’s inevitable that the older someone is, the more experience in life they have, and therefore, they tend to be more respected. When a young adult reads a book or writes one, they tend to focus on issues that they face. And then they are told to grow up and stop being dramatic and childish. Unfair, isn’t it?

Really, it all depends on the author, the genre, and most importantly, the audience. Take Sarah J. Maas for example, and for once, let me put aside my bias about her work. It’s not a surprise to most to learn that Sarah J. Maas is writing a new novel. Sticking to her true self, she is certainly staying with her genre of fantasy (which she is amazing at writing), although, she is now writing a New Adult novel, not Young Adult.

Maas’ books were always a little on the steamy side, so it’s not too much of a surprise for someone to say that it was going to happen, but at the same time, I have already heard so much criticism from people saying that “she should stick to what she is good at” and that “this wouldn’t end well”, and my least favourite, “she should stick to what she is good at”. People can be good at more than one thing, and she is still writing her own style, just the target audience is different.

For this example, not necessarily Sarah J. Maas but any author who is branching or trying something new, I think that that it really depends on the audience. People who read YA will tend to have a certain standard that they hold books to, the same with readers of different levels, such as NA or Adult. But this also depends on the reader and the genre. I know that I tend to hold fantasy books to a higher standard than contemporary books because there is more world building. I know Bruno holds Contemporary to a higher standard because he wants to be able to relate to the characters on more levels.

To finish up, I don’t know if the bar is really different for each reading level, but I do know that the bar is different for the reader.


What about you? Do you hold a certain genre or reading level to a different standard to another?


  1. I would say that people look for different things when reading in different age groups and if they predominantly read one age group then they may hold other age groups at a different standard as it isn't their favourite or what they are used to.
    I think it is unfair to say Sarah J Maas should stick to what she is good at-- they haven't read it yet so they don't know and authors can write whatever they want in any age group. And you are so right when you say people can be good at more than one thing.
    And I think it can depend on your favourite genre as well--- you've read a lot of books in that genre so you know what you want and how you what it to be done. So you have developed a higher standard. Great post!!

    1. I know! It's kind of upsetting to hear people putting down a very talented author, or anyone with any skill set, without seeing the work first

  2. I try not to! I do look for different things in books in different age groups, but I try not to hold them to different standards or expectations.

    1. That's a really good way to look at things! :)


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