I'm excited to have the Stitch Blog Tour stopping by today with a guest post from author Samantha Durante and a giveaway
Stitch (Stitch Trilogy #1)
“Am I YA?”
by Samantha Durante (author of Stitch)
When I set out to write Stitch, I knew who the characters were, what was going to happen to them, and who I thought might like to read the book, but there was one nagging question that I wasn’t sure how to answer: “Is Stitch really a young adult book?”
What is ‘young adult,’ anyway? For the answer, I turned to the greatest bastion of internet knowledge known to man: Wikipedia, of course. According to Wikipedia, young adult fiction is fiction which is marketed to people between the ages of 12 and 18 (or maybe 10 and 25, depending on who you ask), and which generally features an adolescent (defined by Wikipedia as the transitional stage between puberty and legal adulthood) as the protagonist.
Okay, so by these standards, is Stitch a YA novel? My target audience is readers ages 14 to… well, to whatever. I’m 27 and I read a ton of YA fiction, and I know lots of so-called adults both older and younger than me who enjoy YA as well. Based on that experience, I suspected that the majority of readers would be in their teens/twenties or maybe early thirties (basically, the Harry Potter generation, since we’ve all learned through that experience that we love “children’s” fiction at any age!). Does having some portion of my target audience in the “young adult” range qualify me as YA?
I’m not sure, so let’s consider the protagonist perspective. The star of Stitch, Alessa, is a 19-year-old college student. Depending how you define “legal adulthood” she may qualify… I guess from a “legal” standpoint (in the US at least) she would be an adult (over the age of 18), though she still can’t legally drink or rent a car and would not be considered by almost anyone to be finished maturing… Oh, and then there’s the one small issue that after the twist, you learn that Alessa is not 19 at all, actually quite a few years older… So maybe Stitch isn’t YA?
BUT, on the other hand, Wikipedia said that adolescence is about a “transitional stage” and regardless of Alessa’s age, she’s definitely still growing up, still figuring out who she is and what she wants to accomplish with her life. Doesn’t that sound like Wikipedia’s definition of an adolescent to you? Whoever said that adolescence has anything to do with “legal” adulthood? And what idiot defined legal adulthood at 18 anyway? College and the years following are often the most transformative in a person’s life – how can you possibly be considered an adult prior to completing that experience?
The fact of the matter is, YA fiction (to me, at least) is about the journey of characters who are struggling with the most basic questions of life: How do I fit in with this world? What am I here for? What impact do I want to have? And yes, many of us start asking ourselves those questions at 10 or 12, but the fact of the matter is that we’re still asking them at 18 or 25 or 40 or 67. That’s why “young adult” books are SO popular with adult readers of all ages – because many, many readers can connect with the basic tenets of YA literature regardless of their age.
So yes, the characters in YA novels are often in their teens, but sorry Wikipedia, I don’t agree that this is what makes the book YA. In real life, the transformative teenage years may kick off this self-exploration phase, but that reality is that there is no deadline for growing and changing. In fact, you’re probably better off the more you continue to grow and change throughout your life. And the same is true for characters in YA books – many stories may focus on the beginning of this transition in the teenage years, but these characters will continue to evolve and grow and grapple with the same existential struggles even after reaching whatever arbitrary number is defined as “legal” adulthood in their world. And who says that that part of their journey is any less interesting than the beginning?
And so I decided: Yes, Stitch is young adult fiction. Why? Because by my definition,Alessa is still a young adult who’s learning what her path in life will be. And any reader – regardless of age – who is contemplating that same question will be able to connect with her struggle. After all, age is more than just a number; it’s “the accumulation of changes in a person over time.” At least, that’s what Wikipedia says.
Samantha Durante lives in New York City with her fiancé, Sudeep, and her cat, Gio. Formerly an engineer at Microsoft, Samantha left the world of software in 2010 to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and a lifelong love of writing. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, Samantha is currently working full time for her company Medley Media Associates as a freelance business writer and communications consultant. Stitch is her first novel. Learn more about Samantha at www.samanthadurante.com.
Win an ebook copy of Stitch!
Samantha has generously offered one (1) ebook copy (format of choice) for one winner.
-Will run from 10/4 - 10/12
-There will be one winner
-Must be 13+
-One main entry per person
-Winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
Fill out Rafflecopter form to enter