Sometimes it takes just letting your thoughts wander a bit to get some perspective on stuff. I was posting over in the 'your book in a nutshell' thread a few days ago and as I was pontificating (as I am wont to do) I sort of sarcastically tossed out the suggestion that maybe I should classify my work as part of the YA niche. The joke here being that I write bleak, lonely, thematically challenging stuff with explicit sex, drugs and self harm and weird sex, drugs and self harm come to that. But the idea kinda stuck with me. Maybe not all my stuff, but I've written three in a row with teenage protagonists that are coming of age stories about kids who feel (rightly so) not normal and trying to come to terms with who they are. That takes them to some dark places off on the edge of being socially acceptable but it's not like this is a million miles away from what YA fiction is. It's not like dark, grown up themes are off the agenda here (see all dem murders over in Twilight and Hunger Games and even in Harry Potter) and the explicit stuff is easily toned down or totally cut which leave just... Well, some teenagers living teenage lives, worrying about school and boyfriends (and their miscellaneous problems involving lying about having cancer or being a prophet) and figuring out who they are going to be. Maybe I'm seeing something because I want to but after a few days of thought I've seriously started thinking about pursuing this. These aren't hard cuts to make and I've always had an eye towards the potential angsty teenager in the ideas I write anyway (because part of me still is one) so why was it so ludicrous to suggest that the world of YA couldn't support this kind of work? Decently written fiction about teenage problems. Is it really just because we (or I anyway) have the received opinion that YA fiction is, to coin a phrase, shit? I mean, I never really read YA fiction ever. People I trust tell me that Twilight is tosh but is that really a good enough reason alone to just denigrate the genre forever? To the point of not pursuing a potential audience or at least a potential pay cheque? So; two questions for discussion here: 1. Is there any story with adolescent themes that couldn't be pitched as a YA book with a reasonable expectation of success assuming you were cynical/audacious enough to try? 2. Is there actually any difference between decently written adult fiction starring teenagers and decently written YA fiction with adult themes? And if not are these things you should be selling the same way? Or to ask another way... Why is it so stupid to suggest good, dark books can't be for the YA audience?