June 17, 2010

Genres as I see them

This post describes or defines MY view of genres within young-adult literature (and probably mine only). Most of the books I read can be placed in one of this categories. All definitions are written by me and I have no idea how factual or accurate they are, but in my reading universe*** they are pretty darn accurate. Feel free to disagree. The examples are my favorite books on each genre.

Genre: Classification of literature according to common parameters in content as a way of organizing books for readers.

Young Adult or YA is NOT a genre. I don't care if you think so. YA is an age group. YA books are stories that take place in the most interesting and enjoyable time in our lives: adolescence. EVERYONE wishes to be 17 again. Even if they deny it.

Genres in YA:

Dystopian: Stories that are set in a chaotic future. Example: Hunger Games & Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. Generally Science-Fiction enters in this one because they are normally futuristic. Sub-genre:
  • Apocalypse/ Post-apocalypse: I believe this to be a sub-genre of dystopia where in the futuristic tale the "end of civilization" will happen or has already happened. Example: The Forrest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.
Realistic Fiction: Stories about real life characters who deal with real life issues in a real life setting involving ONLY real life elements. Example: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta; all of Sarah Dessen's books. (I deeply refuse to use the term "contemporary" since I can't think of a term more vague than that one. I mean, I'm sure that what is awfully historical for me could indeed be quite "contemporary" to my grandma. So, um... realistic fiction it is.) Sub-genres:
  • Romance: A story where the plot revolves around the main love relationship. Example: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles.
  • Fun: mixes romance with humor with fun experiences and you just have fun while reading. Example: Party by Tom Leveen.
  • Funny: Laugh out loud stories where the main objective is to make you laugh.I don't have an example, I don't normally read this.
  • Mystery: A story where suspense is key, generally crime related. Example: All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab.
  • Dark: A gripping, powerful story about cruel realities. Example: Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert.
Magical Realism: A realistic fiction novel with a drop of magic on it, not quite enough to be considered fantasy or supernatural. The plot is about real life problems. Examples: Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart; Wake, Fade and Gone by Lisa McMann.

Historical Fiction: A realistic fiction story that takes place in any historical period. Events are normally intertwined with real historical events. Example: The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak.

Supernatural/Paranormal/Urban Fantasy: A fantasy meets reality story that normally include supernatural creatures living in a real world setting. Generally take place in urban "contemporary" settings. Example: Darkest Powers series (The Summoning, The Awakening and The Reckoning) by Kelley Armstrong. Sub-genre:
  • Romance: A paranormal/supernatural story where the plot revolves around the main love relationship. Example: Shiver and Linger by Maggie Stiefvater. Stephanie Meyer's famous books are under this one as well.
  • Fun: A supernatural/paranormal story that mixes romance with humor with fun experiences and you just have fun while reading. Example: The Ghost and the Goth by Stacy Kade.
High Fantasy: Stories about fantasy characters in a fantasy setting (world) with fantasy elements. Every single thing is created or "made up" by the author. Example: Graceling by Kristin Cashore.

The End.


  1. Great post!!! I never heard of Dystopian before. Hey, I think you accidentally put Shiver and Linger by Stephenie Meyer not Maggie Stiefvater.

  2. Thank you for pointing that out! My god! Maggie would hunt me down... LOL :P

  3. haha, im not so high tech in the organizing of genres :P ive only got the easy ones: futuristic (for a very very vague categorization), contemporary, paranormal/urban fantasy (b/c i hoenstly dont know how to differentiate between the two) his fic, and fantasy.

  4. Great post! I really like how you look at genres! Mine is quite similar, but not with a lot of sub-genres =)

  5. Fantastic insight and descriptions! I was wondering what Genre the Hunger Games was supposed to be under! :)

  6. Very nice look at genres! And for Funny in Realistic I think a good example would be A Match Made In High School by Kristin Walker. That book almost made me pee my pants I was cracking up so much!


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