What is a “Young Adult”?



Both the “Twilight”saga and the “Hunger Games” trilogy are considered young adult novels, but what does that mean? When thinking of the typical “Twilight” fan, most of our minds drift to a 12 year-old girl screeching over her vampire obsession. However, as described by Wikipedia, “Twilight” falls under the genres of young adult, fantasy and romance. Is 12 the age when you become a young adult? When I think of a romance novel, I cannot help but picture Fabio on the cover of something published by Harlequin. While “Twilight” is not quite “Harlequin material,” I think the romantic and violent content are definitely a little too mature for 12-year-olds to be reading.

When I googled “young adult,” I got a lot of results for the 2011 film starring Charlize Theron. When I googled “what is a young adult?” I had to search for a little while before I found something that did not refer to that movie. What I did find was that typically people between the ages of 18-35 are considered young adults. By this definition, a 12-year-old would not be a young adult. At that age, you are still an adolescent. And yet, we do not see 12-years-olds or even kids in their early teen years being asked for their IDs when purchasing books intended for young adult readers. Why are we not carded for buying books, but have to prove we are over 17 to go see a rated-R film? Nowadays, so many books are being turned into films and being given ratings that control who can watch it. Where are these ratings on the books?

The “Twilight” film is rated PG-13. This means that parental guidance is recommended for viewers under the age of 13. Why is there not a rating like that for the book? Should the readers not have gotten some sort of warning? Should their parents not have been around to read the book with them and help interpret anything that might have been too advanced for a 12-year-old to comprehend? In my opinion, book ratings would be extremely beneficial. I am not necessarily suggesting that there be age restrictions on books, but I think that if a book was rated PG-13 or R, a parent might think twice about buying it for their adolescent son or daughter. This would not be an attempt to discourage reading, but rather a suggestion towards getting kids to read things that are a little more age appropriate. There is already enough pressure from society on kids to grow up quickly, and I think it would be a good idea to keep that pressure out of today’s recreational literature.



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