Difference Between Adult Fiction And YA Fiction

Adult Fiction

Adult fiction and YA fiction are often considered to be the same by most people, who think that the two are just labels given to the books to sell them. However, they are not the same, and this difference exists for a reason. It defines the readers for whom the book is written. Yet, both of the two audiences can read any of the fictions. The primary difference between the YAF and AF is the intent of writing for the specific age group. If you want to know the main difference between Adult fiction and YA fiction, then you need to follow this post until the end. 

Main Difference Between YA Fiction & Adult Fiction

Now we have reached the section where we will see the main difference between adult fiction and young adult fiction. Let’s proceed further: 

1: Age Of The Character/s In Lead

The protagonists’ age is the first in the list of the difference between the two types of fiction. In YA fiction, it is necessary that one of the lead characters of the book should be a teenager, usually the upper teen ranging the age group 15-19 years. On the other hand, the adult fiction protagonist can be of any age, usually 20 years or above. 

2: The Voice

Voice is the next important factor that separates adult fiction from YA fiction. Regardless, the YA fiction is written by adults; it has an authentic voice appeal that sounds relevant to your young adult experience. This voice is disseminated through the inner thoughts, motivations, and concerns of the protagonists. Moreover, the style in which the fiction is written also plays a significant role. 

Adult fiction establishes that a teenager’s worries and priorities are different compared to the adult. YA fiction has a prevalence of specific themes, which include the things that young adults are more focused on as compared to adults. 

In the form of a meditation on the past, adult fiction is more likely to be told using narration from the third person. Besides, it often gives an omniscient viewpoint. The more plot-focused style of many YA books is often preferred over reflective, more ”lyrical” prose.

3: The Theme Of The Story

The next difference between adult fiction and YA fiction is the theme of the story. This can be a complex one. Many individuals have made the mistake of thinking that the topics discussed in young adult fiction are more trivial than adult fiction or that adult fiction themes are off-limits in YA. That’s just not valid.

For example, coming of age in YA, or existential period of reflecting thoughts in adult literature, some themes are certainly more unique to one category or the other. But within the two groups, themes cross over all the time. The differentiation comes from the manner themes are explored. 

We can understand this by taking the example of love and intimate relationships. This theme, including sexuality, and all that comes with it, is as much a part of the experience of young adults as it is of adults.

But while characters in YA novels will have sexual encounters, in an adult novel, it is more likely to be discussed in far less explicit detail than a sex scene.

Another instance of a trend that may draw a line between YA and adult books is a crime and the degree of graphic detail with which it is presented. In YA, violence is by no means off-limits, but it is fair to conclude that a book with highly graphic violence is likely to be targeted at adults rather than a younger audience.

New Adult Fiction: A Crossover Category Of YA and Adult

You may have seen books separated from YA literature by the ”Young Adult” or ”NA” category. So what does this additional category mean, and how does it vary from adult and YA?

At the midpoint between YA and adults, new adult literature can be seen as something of a crossover genre. By its characters, this is reflected. They are, as the name implies, simply ”new” to being adults: aged in their early twenties, between a young adult and a ”true” adult somewhere.

What Blurs The Line Between YA Fiction and Adult Fiction?

Sometimes it becomes hard to differentiate between YA fiction from adult fiction. Some of the possible reasons are explained below: 

1: When a Book Has Cross Over Appeal 

To all reader classes, books with crossover appeal are of interest. For YA books that adults might enjoy, the word is most commonly used. Publishers want crossover books because the potential audience is broadened. Keep in mind that a big proportion of YA customers are adults, so YA all on its own has a lot of crossover appeal.

2: When The Book Is Intended For Upper YA

YA is split informally into lower groupings (ages 13-15) and upper groupings (16-18). With Middle School, Lower YA has more in common than with Adult Fiction. It is possible that getting an older protagonist would put you in the upper YA category. Using this label shows agents that you understand the business. Also, you can sometimes pick it as a category to sell in if you self-publish.

3: When The Book Is Written For New Adults

As a place for stories of characters 18-25 going through the things of early adulthood, such as going to college, first homes, and first jobs, the New Adult classification was proposed. Sadly, the industry has grown to mean ”extreme heat romance about new adults,” leaving out the other genres that might use the term. 

However, you can use the above differences to differentiate adult fiction from YA fiction

Final Words!!

The post elaborates on the main differences between adult fiction and YA fiction. Besides, if you haven’t heard of the new fiction, this post gives a glimpse of this book genre. Furthermore, the post has also listed some points that can make young adult fiction look like adult fiction. If you liked this post and sourced some useful information from it, reach out to our blog section to explore more. 


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