Can We Have College-Aged Characters in YA Books? (Discussion)

Can We Have College- Aged Characters In Young Adult Books Discussion

I’ve recently seen a few conversations happening around social media on the possibility of featuring college-aged characters in young adult books. While some readers are excited about the idea, others are not.  The two main objections I’ve seen are: 1) that’s what new adult is for and 2) we don’t want older characters stealing YA from teens.  Personally, I do see room in YA in college-aged characters, at least in the first-year/sophomore age range, and I actually think these would be of interest to teen readers, not a threat.

smaller star divider

College-Aged Characters Don’t Really Fit in New Adult

Ok, technically, college-aged characters do belong in new adult books.  Characters around their early twenties who are just branching out into adulthood is the actually the defining idea of a new adult book category.  However, the reality is that new adult just hasn’t taken off as a concept in the publishing world the way some readers have hoped.  I don’t have official statistics here, but I have seen a number of literary agents tweeting that there is very little demand from editors to publish new adult books, and they’re not seeking to acquire clients or novels in the genre.

New adult has really struggled to break out of its stereotype of being comprised primarily of erotica, and it also hasn’t taken off as a category in stores.  (For example, I can’t walk into Barnes & Noble and check out the New Adult section because there isn’t one.)  Readers who are interested in college-aged characters in books that aren’t focused on romance/sex simply aren’t going to be able to find them in anything labelled “new adult.”

smaller star divider

Featuring College-Aged Characters Doesn’t Have to “Steal” YA from High Schoolers

To address further concerns, I think it only practical that featuring some slightly older characters in YA books (say 18-20 years old) doesn’t have to shift the focus from younger teens.  I’ve had the experience in writing several discussion posts of commenters seeming to believe that when I say something like “Hey, why isn’t menstruation mentioned more in YA novels” I’m really saying something like “Menstruation should be in every single YA novel ever, and it should be a primary focus of the book.” I’m not.  I promise.  I’m simply suggesting that maybe the topic could be mentioned in a few more books than it is now.  The same applies here.

Readers who are asking that college students be featured in YA novels are not demanding that every YA novel be about a college student–just that some are.  In fact, there are already some older protagonists in YA.  Where She Went by Gayle Forman, for instance, features two protagonists who have graduated from high school.  One is college studying music.  One is going the less traditional route of trying to launch a music career.  Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses series also features an older protagonist (though readers have questioned the YA status based on the amount of explicit sex scenes; I haven’t personally seen anyone object to Feyre’s age as the issue with categorization).

Sprinkling a few novels with slightly older protagonists isn’t going to amount to a wild take-over of the YA category.  These types of characters are already popping up occasionally, and barely anyone has noticed.

smaller star divider

In Fact, High Schoolers May Want to Read about College-Aged Characters

There’s a belief among some publishing professionals that “children like reading about characters who are slightly older than they are.”  Typically these people are talking about the middle grade or lower YA character and suggesting that, say, ten-year-olds like reading about twelve-year-olds and eighth graders like reading about ninth and tenth graders.  It’s a belief that some readers, at least some of the time, like looking slightly ahead and imagining what life could be like for them in a couple of years.  There’s no reason the same can’t apply to older teens.

I could easily believe that, for instance, eleventh and twelfth grade readers could be interested in reading about characters in their first or even second year of college (or characters who are around 19 but not attending college).  Similarly, I can believe that there are plenty of YA readers in college who would love to read about these types of characters.  After all, once doesn’t graduate high school, or turn twenty, and wipe off one’s hands and say, “Well, I guess I’m not officially a high schooler/teen anymore.  I’m done reading YA!”  There has certainly been concern in the YA community about keeping the book category focused on actual young adults, but my impression has been that people are concerned that older adults are being catered to, not that anyone seriously begrudges a college first-year for being a YA fan.  I think there could be a real market in the older teen audience for books about college-characters, not that this is something that thirty-year-olds are demanding.

What do you think? Is there room for a few more college-aged characters in young adult books?

Briana

64 thoughts on “Can We Have College-Aged Characters in YA Books? (Discussion)

  1. Sionna (Books in Her Eyes) says:

    Yes, yes, YES! I want more College-aged protagonists.
    I tend to use NA to refer to college protags now, but it is weird because those books are usually romances or erotica which isn’t exactly what I’m looking for.

    I do think teens like reading about college as we can see from Fangirl and We Are Okay [although We Are Okay does have many flashbacks to HS]. I’m also under the impression that ACOTAR series is more NA than YA. I do think there should be a NA tag though because there are difference… but honestly, I’ll take more college-aged protags no matter what the label — especially contemporaries.

    What age range would you give NA? I usually think 19-27.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Briana says:

      Yes, I kind of stay away from the NA label because a lot of people automatically think romance/erotica, and I think that’s why publishers are largely staying away from calling their books NA, too, even if the age of the protagonist fits. The category just hasn’t sold the way some people were hoping.

      Interesting. I haven’t thought of a specific age range for NA, but you’re probably right. I guess people would usually say it’s college students and “characters starting out in their careers” but late 20’s isn’t even unusual to just be getting a foot in the door in your chosen industry these days, particularly with an increasing number of people (in my opinion, not sure on the actual stats) going to grad school after college.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sionna (Books in Her Eyes) says:

        True, but back before the 90s and really before the 70s there wasn’t really YA novels or “good” ya books. These things take time and is driven mainly by the stores and companies, so it might take a decade or two but eventually there may be a wider NA section too. I just hope it comes soon 🙂 Or is recognized…

        Like

  2. Sydney @ Fire and Rain Books says:

    I think this is so interesting! I personally would like some college aged protagonists in YA, maybe more freshman and sophomores than almost in grad school. Especially for me, as I get closer and closer to college, it becomes a more relevant topic in my life and new students at college are still relatable FOR ME. I think they won’t be as relatable for 14 year olds reading YA because it seems so far off and the problems they deal with might not be what college aged students deal with, but the teenage years are very long and formative, and a fourteen year old and eighteen year old may need different protagonists, even though they are only four years apart. One really good YA novel I read that features college aged protagonists is In This Moment by Autumn Doughton. It literally begins on their first day of college but offers a whole new setting than the classic high school setting. Maybe it’s considered NA? But this book isn’t erotica and has a lot more YA themes to it, like first love, coming of age, overcoming your fears, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Briana says:

      Exactly. I don’t think it’s crazy to believe that older teens would be interested in reading about characters who are just a year or two older than they are. And you’re right that YA spans such a large age group to begin with, from 13-18 in “official” terms, but probably more like 12-20+ in terms of actual readers. Someone in that group would definitely be interested in these books!

      I think the NA/YA category is complicated because it’s a large part just a marketing thing. Like, you could probably call it NA based purely on the age of the characters, but chances are the publisher and author would call it YA for marketing reasons.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. J e w e l s says:

    Great post! I must be totally out of the loop, because I hadn’t noticed “new adult” as a genre before. Makes perfect sense for early 20-somethings. But yes, there is a neglected age group of 18-20 yr olds. And there are plenty of readers who would like to see that age represented in books more!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Briana says:

      I think it’s because new adult really isn’t as popular as many people have hoped. It’s definitely still boxed in as romance/erotica, and I think more self-published books and maybe indie ones are using the category than larger publishers are. It’s just tough in the industry to sell new adult, which is why I think Bloomsbury ended up marketing A Court of Thorns and Roses as YA instead of NA.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    Yeah I could see that happening (although the issue is I’m technically older, so maybe that’s why I’m open to it, so maybe take what I say with a pinch of salt) I do think that a lot of teens are going to be in college soon anyway, so it makes sense to sort of prep them and make them aware of what might lie ahead. I also think it would be good to bridge that scary gulf between school and uni. Yeah NA wasn’t really a thing when I was still in school- and to be honest had it existed I probably wouldn’t have turned my nose up at college stories, since I watched plenty of tv and movies set in college anyway. But I think you’re right about NA branching out into something other than erotica. And yes it definitely makes sense to graduate and grow older and allow books to get more mature as they go on (I know this was a different age range, but didn’t a lot of us find that Harry Potter grew up with us- I know I certainly did) And yeah, I think that a lot of teens would be happy to read about older teens. So I’m pretty on board with this idea! Awesome discussion to have- I never would have thought about this otherwise!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Briana says:

      Yeah, I think some of the criticism of the idea has been “Well, older YA readers want this, not teens!” But I personally don’t think that’s true. (Not that I’ve conducted an official survey or anything, so I could be wrong.) Also, I think the conversation is complicated because if older readers ARE in fact buying the bulk of YA, I don’t necessarily think that catering to that (a little bit, not to push out teen readers) a bad thing. Keeping the YA market robust with lots of people purchasing it is what’s going to allow publishers and authors to branch out and experiment with different types of books.

      Liked by 1 person

      • theorangutanlibrarian says:

        Yeah I agree with you! (hehe yes me too- I’m just using conjecture based on my own and other people I know’s experience 😉 it would be interesting to see a survey though) And yes that’s true. I think I was thinking more about what I liked as a teen than me as a reader now- cos I definitely wouldn’t want teens pushed out just cos us adults are still buying it 😉 . And yes that’s true!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Krysta says:

    I think that readers do like to read about people slightly older than they are. Plenty of middle-school students read YA, so it would make sense if high school students wanted to start looking ahead to college.

    Plus it’s true that a lot of the buyers of YA are not teens. I don’t see this as bad. Animated films and picture books are marketed to children and to adults because the adults have the purchasing power. This doesn’t mean the animated films or picture books aren’t still for children or that children don’t enjoy them. YA can branch out a bit and still offer books with broader appeal.

    Also, 18-year-olds and 19-year-olds are teens, too. And they are in college. Why not write some books for them?

    Like

  6. noreadstoogreat says:

    YES I totally agree! Especially since it is really strange to have YA books about 15/16 year olds that have really adult stuff like marriage happening to them. I only recently came across New Adult as a genre but I do think there is room for college age characters in both. Personally I was 17 when I started University so it is a little odd that not more characters in YA are 17/18/19. Also I would point out that once I am really into a series I tend to imagine the characters as older than they are, it always felt odd to think of them as my age! Love the post and it is definitely a good discussion!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Briana says:

      I also often think of book characters as older than they are! (Particularly in, say, fantasy when the character isn’t necessarily in high school or something but just going on an adventure.) And frequently I find it quite odd that the book works perfectly well with me imagining the character is, say, 22 when apparently they’re supposed to be 16. Because, as you say, a decent number of these books do bring up topics like marriage and such that seem odd for teenagers.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Paperback and Flick Chick says:

    great post! I really do not see a problem with more college aged characters in YA books. like you said this does not mean that every book will then have all college aged characters! and in makes sense in the fact that in life we meet and interact with people of all ages everyday! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Briana says:

      That’s true. Honestly, The Dollmaker of Krakow is a middle grade about a talking doll and an elderly man–and usually people think middle grade means there must be a protagonist about 9-12 years old. So if that’s working for people (by which I mean adult readers are rating it generally well; no idea about actual kids), then we can probably have YA books that embrace different ages of characters.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Cas @ Lovely Paranormal Books says:

    This is a really interesting discussion! I definitely think that there can be college aged characters in young adult books, I mean why not? In contemporary ya books, are there not adult characters? I think the college aged characters could be older siblings/guiding figures as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      Plus I think there are teens who are dealing with more “adult” issues. How can we say teens don’t want to read about people in college thinking about starting a career when many teens are 1) choosing colleges that might help them with their future career, 2) already committing themselves to family businesses, or 3) working to support their families? Teens are not a monolithic group!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. luvtoread says:

    I steer clear of anything labeled New Adult! I’m not really into the romance/erotica thing the genre seems to be.
    I think college age could be in YA, but I would hesitate to classify every book that has college age characters as YA. I always think high school age when I hear YA, but it could definitely encompass those who are 18-19-20-21 I think. Also the main characters of Heartless & Caraval come to mind – I believe they were each 18. ? I could be wrong about their ages, but they were old enough to be contemplating marriage. And I think Celeana from Throne of Glass is 18 or older, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      Yeah, I don’t want to read NA for the same reason.

      Right. I think college-age characters will work in YA as long as they are experiencing things teens might relate to such as feeling lonely as they try to make new friends or navigating new social situations. Books are classified according to content as well as by age.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Rosie Amber says:

    Yes! I totally agree. So many younger readers want to learn about the world around them and many will be anxious about going to college, university (I’m from the Uk) or even heading out into the job market. So writing books that include characters of this age range is ideal.
    I’ve found characters in several India R Adams books which cover this age range and are very good.
    Lost In Static by Christina Philippou is set in the UK in the first year of university (college)
    Arie Farnam also writes books which cover this, mixing young adults in as well.
    Whilst Roomies by Sara Zarr is all about the build up to starting college and leaving home to do so.
    Completely support this idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      Those all sound like great books! And I think they show why college-aged characters can work in YA–the characters seem to be experiencing things teen readers can relate to, like figuring out how to navigate a new social situation or make friends.

      Like

  11. kozbisa says:

    I have read books featuring college aged characters that felt YA. These books usually had more focus on the changes the character was experiencing as they adjusted to life after high school. I am guilty of classifying a book as YA/NA/MG/Adult based on the aged of the main character(s), but I can see how YA can stretch into the early college years. We Are Still Tornadoes is one that comes to mind.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Excellent point! Content can affect the classification more than the actual age of the character. If they are 19 but experiencing changes a high school student can relate to, then the book could be YA.

      Like

  12. saraletourneau says:

    I love this post and all the comments that have come in so far. 😀

    This is a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, and it began when I decided to write my new novel, a magical realism story that follows a girl with anxiety during her first year of college. When I started looking up books with college-age characters, I only found two. (That list has expanded, though, thanks to some of the titles I’ve seen in the comments here!) And my first thought was, Why? Why are there so few books on the first-year college experience when it’s one of the challenging and life-changing times of a young person’s life? It definitely was for me – and if I’d had a book or two with characters going through the same struggles, I would have felt less alone then.

    One reason I can think of that might explain why YA authors typically don’t write about college-age characters is general industry advice. Many editors and agents (not all, but a noticeable number) recommend that YA protagonists should be younger than 18 to “better target high school readers”. I wouldn’t be surprised if that advice might be partly why there’s a dearth of novels with college-age protagonists. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for it.

    As for New Adult: I actually watched a YouTube video by author Ava Jae recently, called “What Happened to New Adult?” (She’s an editor at Entangled as well as an author, so she has a good pulse on the publishing industry.) She made very similar points that were mentioned in the post and in the comments: NA never took off the way that publishers hoped it would, and it’s basically become a subgenre of romance. So what she said pretty much confirms what we readers have noticed.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I think college-age protagonists in YA could work depending on the content. Dealing with anxiety as a freshman is certainly going to be very relatable for many teen readers. I think, in fact, that books focused on the transition into college–making friends, choosing a major, figuring out how to be (sort of) on your own–are going to be focused on themes that already fit into YA, though we might currently make the books about entering high school or changing schools rather than entering college, or about choosing a college rather than a major. Graduating college and entering the workforce might be a little too far ahead for some high schoolers to relate to. And books that are about parties and hook-ups might be too much (though, in fact, YA already covers such things in high school settings so maybe not). But freshman and sophomore characters might work very well.

      Honestly, I don’t fully understand why we’re so fixated on age in books. I generally imagine protagonists as older than they are stated because, really, how many twelve-year-olds do you know who are mature enough to save the world? Or who talk with the expanded vocabulary and semi-formal diction given to them in prose? I don’t know many! I probably imagine them as at least 16. And by the time protagonists are 16, I’m probably imagining them as 18 or even in their early 20s.

      The same goes for classic books. In Little Women, Meg gets engaged at 17 (though married at 20). Jo is already trying to sell stories at age 16. Both are working to support their family when they are in their teens. They read as much older than the average high school student today. (It’s also notable that Little Women is marketed as a children’s book and beloved by many children–I think I first read it when I was eight?–, even though the protagonists are concerned with earning a living and getting married, topics we perceive as “too old” for the YA crowd.)

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    I totally agree with you, Brina. I have really enjoyed reading books which feature kids starting their college life. That’s a tough time, and I think it’s important that more YA books focus on it. My favorite it (obviously) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I was definitely the child who wanted to read about slightly older characters than me. I wanted to learn who I could grow up to be if I wanted to– I saw those characters as role models.

    As far as the erotica association a lot of new adult novels have, well, I think that unless the publishing companies get on changing the image of new adult we’ll just see it turn into younger-focused erotica. Individual authors alone can’t change that. The publishing companies will need to push and promote and help change the genre as well!

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I hope the publishing companies do push it! I think that the focus on erotica is what killed NA, to be honest. YA works so well because it’s an age range and you can find any genre you are interested in. Making NA just erotica severely limits your audience as not everyone wants to read that. I know I don’t!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Literary Lattes says:

    This was such an interesting discussion! I often tend to view characters as around 18-19 anyway, so I definitely agree that there is room for college aged characters in YA. My favourite would be Fangirl, it was great, because even though the MCs were college-aged students, it still had parts that were relevant and relatable for teens. 🙂

    Like

  15. christine @ the story salve says:

    I am so on board with this! I’m 27 now, but I remember being just out of college when “New Adult” became a category – and I was (and am) severely disappointed with the quality of books about people in their twenties. I think there’s definitely a place for older teens in YA stories.

    I also really like what you said about kids reading about kids who are slightly older than them. That was my experience from about age 12 and up. Middle Grade didn’t seem to exist at that point for me (or maybe I just couldn’t find it?) so by the time I was 12, I was reading the younger side of YA books. I liked imagining what my life might look like in a couple of years. I think I would have benefited from reading about college first years when I was a senior in high school – because I was so looking forward to that time period, but had only my own imagination to go on.

    Like

    • Briana says:

      I actually do think there was a time when YA felt “younger” (and I’ve heard actual YA authors say the same, about how their writing for the genre has changed), so middle grade was less of thing. Because you could read YA as a 12-year-old or whatnot. Now there seems to be a greater divide.

      Liked by 1 person

      • christine @ the story salve says:

        It’s definitely interesting reading YA in my 20s and noticing the changes that have occurred in the last 10-15 years on that front. I remember reading YA at age 12 and (mostly) not being ~shocked~ by any of the content. More recent YA definitely feels older, with a few exceptions. Overall, though, I think there’s room for older teens in YA stories – and I think there’s still room for middle-aged teens (14-15) because I can only think of a handful of those in recent years.

        Like

        • Krysta says:

          It does seem like YA has become darker. The other day I was wondering why we consider classics like Mongtomery’s Anne series and Alcott’s Little Women as “children’s books” and shelve them with MG in stores and libraries. After all, Anne goes from 11 to a mother in the series. And Jo starts at age 16 to age 30! The whole second half of Little Women is about the girls pursuing their careers, falling in love, and experiencing married life. But I think we put them with the MG books because the content seems so wholesome. It’s interesting to think about because then the argument that “teens won’t relate to older protagonists” goes out the window. We’re letting ten-year-olds read about married women, after all!

          Liked by 1 person

          • christine @ the story salve says:

            That’s such a good point! I read the entire Anne series when I was 9, and there are definitely aspects of the storyline that I couldn’t possibly have “related” to at that point in my development. I just loved Anne as a character, and I was rooting for her and Gilbert, and I loved envisioning a life like hers.

            Like

            • Krysta says:

              Yes! While I admit I didn’t really relate to college-aged Anne when I was a child, I still loved reading about her adventures! I loved seeing her grow up and finding out where life would take her.

              Liked by 1 person

            • christine @ the story salve says:

              I really love re-reading the series as an adult, though. I didn’t connect with Anne in the later books, but the older I get the more I appreciate the aspects I didn’t understand as a kid. She’s my favorite!

              Like

  16. Greg Hill says:

    I would love to see more college- aged YA stories, absolutely. There’s room for them along with everything else that we have. Fangirl to me is a great example- not only is Cath starting college, she has anxiety about starting college, and who can’t relate to that?

    Like

  17. Mikaela @ The Well-Thumbed Reader says:

    Yep, I definitely would love college-age protagonists! I know that reading Fangirl, even though I was just in middle school, I could relate SO WELL with it. I’m in high school and still anxious about college the same way Cath is – nervous about meeting new people, talking out loud, doing something dumb. So it’d be nice to read about characters who relate in that same way! I’ve always thought NA really had to be the potential to be something great, since there’s SO MANY THINGS that happen when you’re in college or in your twenties in general, but then it just became unrealistic romance, and that really killed it.

    Like

  18. Nicole Alicia says:

    This is an interesting blog post and very timely for me. I am releasing a novel here in november where the main character is a college-age student and centers greatly around college life. I am very leary to put it in the box of “YA” since it does have a few sexual scenes written in it and adult topics.

    Like

  19. Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    Briana! I love this post so much (even if I am like a week late to it). I have been so confused about the NA genre, but this actually helps. And I also completely agree with your thoughts on this one. I think my daughter who is a very mature 17 and will be leaving for college soon would actually relate to and benefit from some college aged protagonist. Sometimes books offer a nice, safe way to explore our own curiosities and topics. Anyways, I do not have much to contribute because you have covered it well. Just wanted to let you know I love the post ❤

    Like

  20. Fleur Henley says:

    I think that college-aged students can be included in YA, but it has to be age appropriate! I know that I sound like such a mum when I say that, but we have to remember that 13-year-olds are probably going to be reading it as well – so college-aged experiences will have to be made a little less explicit. If the goldfinch (a very adult book) can have a child as its protagonist, then YA can definitely have college-aged students as theirs!

    Fleur Henley | Books and Lifestyle

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Books are designated YA based not only on the age of the characters but also on the content. Generally it’s assumed that YA books are going to be about a PG-13 rating, which is, I think, why some readers argue that Maas’s books should actually have been marketed as adult fantasy. I agree with you. If the content of YA becomes too adult, the YA designation will become somewhat meaningless, as currently it’s used by teachers and librarians to suggest age-appropriate books. Even if they haven’t read them, they’re assuming anything called YA isn’t overly explicit.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fleur Henley says:

        Completely agree! I was a little concerned when I saw that some bloggers / vloggers were marketing ‘Nevernight’ as young adult. I’ve seen it pop up in the teen section in quite a few bookstores too – just because the protag is 16 doesn’t make a book YA and vice versa!

        Like

        • Krysta says:

          Yeah, a couple times I’ve seen a book in YA that I thought was misplaced. I think sometimes books do have crossover appeal and can sell to YA and adult audiences. However, when adults point teens to the YA section, they usually want to feel like they’re safely guiding readers to age-appropriate material. No bookseller, teacher, or librarian wants an irate parent coming after them demanding to know why they gave their teen explicit material!

          Liked by 1 person

        • Briana says:

          Same. I’ve found some questionable material shelved as “teen” in libraries and bookstores, and I agree that, in addition to other factors, most readers do expect “YA” to mean something like “Pg-13.” It’s part of the reason I disagree that A Court of Thorns and Roses is YA.

          Liked by 1 person

  21. writingthedreamblog says:

    I definitely agree! When I was in high school, I would have appreciated books with college age protagonists. Additionally, considering so many adults read YA it would be a nice change to have books with characters in their early twenties as well.

    Like

  22. Grab the Lapels says:

    I don’t remember where I read this but Seventeen Magazine’s average reader is around 13 because girls want to do things that older girls are doing. The only book that I ever read in high school that had college students was Sweet Valley Twins, the university years. Both twins had such a horrible time, with Elizabeth losing her sister as a friend, losing her boyfriend, gaining weight, and not feeling very smart. Jessica fell into an abusive relationship with an older guy who want in college, and when she started having sex it actually freaked me out. There was no sex in the high school books, at least not explicitly, so I was shocked. The books were always unrealistic, but I didn’t realize that and wasn’t prepared for a realistic aspect of growing up.

    Like

    • Briana says:

      Oh…wow. I had not known that bout the Sweet Valley Twins! I think I would have been shocked to read that, too, as a child! Especially since the Sweet Valley High books are a really good example of a book series that features teens but which is marketed to much younger readers, in my opinion. I can’t imagine having read that university series while I was in middle school!

      I think a YA take on college would definitely have to be “tasteful,” probably taking a similar approach to partying and sex that YA books currently do–it can be there, but not over the top and not explicit. Which I think is fair because sometimes I think the media really goes too far with assumptions that everyone in college spends 80% of their time drinking at frat parties and hooking up with random people. I could envision a YA take on college where the main character was a bit more balanced than that and more concerned with classes, meeting new people, picking a major, etc. with maybe some partying on the side.

      Like

      • Grab the Lapels says:

        As someone who went to college for a long time and has been a professor in many types of schools–private, public, 4-year, 2-year, women-only, Catholic, satellite campus, huge, small–colleges are NOT homogeneous. If someone is going to write about college and do it well, they need to know what kind of college it is and what the experiences there would be like. My time at a 4-year/private/Catholic college with around 600 students is 100% different from my time at a 4-year/public/state school with around 27,000 students. The relationships between everyone (friends, professors, students and professors, students/professors and staff, etc) are wildly different.

        Like

Leave a Reply! We'd love to read your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.