Exactly what is YA or Young Adult?

Every American writer comes across this subjectivity at some point in their writing career. Aseptically, when comes time to market your book and decide which age group to present it to. I noticed it isn’t so much an issue in other parts of the world. So, exactly what is YA or Young Adult? When does the years start and end?

For activities at international or at regional level, such as the African Youth Forum, UNESCO uses the United Nations’ universal definition. The UN, for statistical consistency across regions, defines ‘youth’, or young adult as those persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years, without prejudice to other definitions by Member States. Different counties have different age categories.

In most of the world a 34 year old is no longer considered a Young Adult. They are simply considered an adult.

From research I learned most of the world still uses the standards of previous generations to define age categories whereas the U.S. in the last twenty years adopted a different standard. Young adult and late teens (15-17) once meant the same age group. A young adult was no longer a child but not yet an adult. Once one reached 18 you were an adult. No longer a young adult.

I can’t help but wonder does this seemingly obtuse labeling has any psychological effects on the person. Labeling someone pushing thirty and beyond the same, as pretty much an 18 year old? It’s like it’s saying they haven’t grown and matured beyond their teen years?? Little wonder so many can’t handle adulting.

According to Erik Erikson’s stages of human development which varies. A young adult is generally a person ranging in age from their late teens or early twenties to their thirties, although definitions and opinions.

I didn’t know that you got a choice. I thought the body grew by coded DNA.  Hmmm, that one is new to me.

Usually an ten to twelve year old is considered a “tween” – which is be”tween” being a child and a teenager. … You’ll start being a teenager when you turn 13, and you won’t stop being a teenager until your age is one that doesn’t end in teen number (when you turn 20).


U.S. categorized citizen’s ages into young adults (ages 18-34 years ), middle-aged adults (ages 35-55 years), and mature adults (aged older than 55 years) and last, Old adults (65-?)

I guess you don’t have any sense until older than 55. LOL!

But this too is challenged by sociologists who believe that each of these stages have an early, middle, and late phrase.

I think I will just stick with the original guideline.

Infant-toddlers 0-3

Preschoolers to schoolers-4-6


Tween -10-12


Young Adults-17-24


Middle Age-35-55

Mature Adult-55-70


All these other things are too confusing to keep up with for everyone has a reason and a sub-reason and no one is agreeing on anything.



About unholypursuit

A. White, an award winning former librarian, who is also a long time member of Romantic Time and Publisher's Weekly. A. White has been writing for over fifteen years. She took classes in creative writing in college, specializing in ancient myths and legends. and later at a local community center while living in Chicago. In college she won the national contest to verbally list every country in the world, it's capital and ingenious language. Her works are mainly horror, fantasy, extreme, and sci-fi as well as, as some may says, "the truly strange predicament and puzzling." Books that I've written are "Clash with the Immortals, and eleven others which are part of the "Unholy Pursuit saga,". She has been working on the Chronicles since 2007. She wished to complete them all before introducing them to public so the readers wouldn't have to for the continuation to be written. The ideas of the book come from classic literature such as whose work greatly influence the world world such as Homer, Sophocles, Herodotus, Euripides, Socrates, Hippocrates, Aristophanes, Plato, Aristotle and many more. The "Book of Enoch" influenced the usage of Azazael as a main character and love interest. I created the primary main character from the Chronicle of Saints. I wanted to show them as real flesh and blood with thoughts, desires and yearning as any human. Not as they are so often depicted. So I created one of my own to show her as a real human that everyone can relate to.
This entry was posted in ANNOUNCEMENTTS, author, books, history, paranormal romance, and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Exactly what is YA or Young Adult?

  1. Jheelam says:

    As an “adulting” adult, this is an interesting read to me. In SE Asia, middle-age kicks off post 29. At 34, I still enjoy the YA fantasy genre occassionally. Thanks for the post.


    • Jheelam, thanks for visiting. Wow! Middle age is past 29?!? I had no idea a person was middle age in S.E. Asia once they reached thirty. I heard that back in the 1960’s that was the case in the USA. There was a thing among the hippies about not trusting anyone over thirty.
      What is considered old age in your area of the world?
      I mentioned the subject because authors aren’t always sure of what category in which country to list literary contents. Different countries have different age categories.
      I don’t think there’s an age limit on which books one can enjoy. I too, still enjoy some books listed as YA.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jheelam says:

        Ageism is pretty high (especially for women) in South-East Asian culture, I perceive.
        So by 30, you’re supposed to boot a thriving career, house+car, marriage and kids (preferably two)- thus entering the “boring” era of middle-age and leaving all the cool things for ’20-somethings’ to do. 😛

        In India, even 5 years back, there was very little awareness regarding YA genre.

        It’s only recently that our authors are waking up to the possibility. They’re going through a ‘figuring out’ stages I think.

        So YA genre here is quite messy and there is lot more to do, including pin-pointing the age-bracket of target-group.


        • I guess you would call it ageism. Which is discrimination of any form due to one’s age. I think in many degrees it exist all over the world. But more profoundly for women moreso than men. Once upon time here in America an unmarried woman over 25 was considered an old maid or “spinster” unlike today whereas you are respectfully referred to as a Bachelorette. The revolutions of the sixties and seventies took away a lot of the insane pressure to have be married by age 25. That was once expected in the US by the time you were thirty were expect to have all these things but the recent recessions has curbed a lot of that way of thinking. The high cost of living has made it impossible to obtain all these things by age 30.

          I didn’t know that the YA genre was new to your country. But you know, in a way existed for a long time in India for I have read writings from India authors which I would consider YA but it may not be labeled as such but I’m glad it’s reaching there.

          Yes, I agrees such wide variety of defining age groups make sort of messy in pinpointing which age group to market to.

          The thirties aren’t boring. LOL! It’s all about whatever one make it. Yes, you outgrow the things of your youth but new things take their place. You’ll see. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Jheelam says:

            This is so cool that you’ve read Indian authors (I hope Chetan Bhagat is not one of them 😀 ). Yes, one perk I can attest to being in 30s is- one gives less F about ”
            What others’ will say?” conundrum.

            Liked by 1 person

            • No I haven’t read Chetan Bhagat. Never heard of him. I just looked him up I might read the “What Young India Wants: Selected Essays and Columns or One Indian Girl” to get to know him. But most of my reading has been the writings of Mahatma Gandhi. I try to select work of authors all over the world to read. That’s the only way to understand cultures different from your owns. LOL! According to my parents I came here with a not giving a ‘hoot’ conundrum. LOL! Yes, but as you age what other people have to say about you wears thin. It matters less to you. Why could it? Those talking aren’t going to help you do better if you aren’t doing well.

              Liked by 1 person

  2. Amanda Stevens says:

    The Unholy Pursuit books can be read by young adults. There’s nothing in them young people haven’t heard or said themselves.

    On Wed, Jul 25, 2018 at 6:46 AM, The Novel: UnHoly Pursuit: Devil on my Tra

    Liked by 1 person

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