Saturday, October 20, 2012

4 Myths About YA Fantasy

Today I have the honor of being part of Inklined’s blog tour on young adult books in honor of National Teen Read Week (in the US). 

For those of you who regularly visit my blog, you may have noticed that many of my recent book reviews have dealt with young adult (YA) fantasy books. Well, today’s my chance to explain why you should read YA fantasy too. To do so, I’ll bust four common myths about YA fantasy.

Myth #1: All YA fantasy is about vampires.
Falser than false teeth! Sure, there’s Twilight and Vampire Diaries and a whole slew of vampire-related books. However, they certainly don’t dominate the entire market. There are sub-genres of YA fantasy about fairies (Swift), about Greek myth (Percy Jackson), about fairy tales (Ella Enchanted), about traditional Medieval fantasy (Inkheart), and so much more. The vampire books may coat the surface of YA fantasy, but just like when searching for gold, you need to dig a little deeper to find the treasure.

Myth #2: YA fantasy has less mature content than adult fantasy.
Sadly, this myth is both true and false. There are many books, especially those intended for a middle-grade (preteen to early teen) audience, that have a minimum or no adult content. However, especially as you start progressing into full-on YA fantasy, the mature content escalates until, sometimes, it’s indistinguishable from an adult book. So before you plunge into a YA fantasy book, be sure to check out reviews to make sure you won’t be in over your head.

Myth #3: YA fantasy is too short.
Okay, so some YA fantasy doesn’t top 200 pages. But there are other works of YA fantasy that are 600, 700, even 800 or more pages long. For a few examples, think of the Eragon series or the Harry Potter series (at least the later books). One benefit of having such a wide range of page counts to choose from is that you can pick a book according to how much time you have to read. Pick a short book to breeze through for the weekend, and a long book to relish over winter break.

Myth #4: YA fantasy is “second-rate” fiction.
Definitely false! YA fantasy is just like any fantasy, or any fiction, for that matter. There may be shoddy work, but there are also plenty of gems waiting to be discovered. One way to discover them is to look for books that have won awards (ALA best book for young adults, for example). Or go to your favorite book reviewer and ask them for recommendations. Whatever you do, I can assure you that you will eventually find an example of YA fantasy that you truly love.

I hope this blog post has piqued your interest for YA fantasy. Check out some of my book reviews, or stop by Inklined to see some more blog posts about YA fantasy. And, of course, don’t forget to comment about YA fantasy myths you’d like to bust!

Sienna North is a writer, poet, and photographer. Her hobbies include reading Medieval literature, traveling around the world, and doodling in watercolor. She blogs right here at Faerie & Faith as well as on her photo blog, Sienna North Photography. She plans to self-publish her first novel, a YA book about Japan's 2011 tsunami, in March 2013.

Faerie & Faith is a blog for writers and readers of Christian fantasy. Since its inception in mid-2011, blog posts have dealt with such issues as using magic in stories, "God" in fantasy, and book reviews of (mostly fantasy) novels. While the focus of the blog has begun to shift away from strictly fantasy-related subjects, the fantastic will always be an important part of Faerie & Faith.

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