“This is a Typical YA Ending”

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This is just a quick post about something that’s been on my mind for a while. It’s sad that there are so many preconceived ideas about YA novels, ideas that show those who speak about them, very often haven’t read any.

I’m writing for adults, children and Young Adults and in one of my writer’s groups a fellow writer commented on one of my stories for adults. She found the ending was a bit too corny, a bit too much of a happy ending. I’m not saying she was wrong. I think she was right but she then went to add: “It’s a typical YA ending. But this is literary fiction.” I was so stunned, I didn’t say anything. I wasn’t in the mood. But it’s definitely not the first time that I hear this kind of comment.

In this post I only want to discuss one part of the comment – the ending. (The defence of the literary merits of YA literature deserve another, longer post.) I recently read two YA novels and they made me realize that the endings are one of the things I love about YA. And why do I love them so much? Precisely because they often aren’t neat or predictable and that’s how they manage to capture life’s complexity. I think, she may have mixed up YA books with romance novels, where there’s mostly a happy ending.

Unfortuntely, as far as preconceived ideas about YA novels go, it isn’t even the worst.

The book that I’ve read recently and that made me, realize once more, how fresh and unpredictable YA novels are – was an older book by Judy Blume – Tiger Eyes. It wouldn’t be a bad choice for someone who isn’t familiar with YA novels and definitely a great choice to get rid of some of the stereotypical views.

Of course, there are YA novels with happy endings. And that’s fine as well. But it’s not something that’s typical for YA.

What do you think?