Does a YA main character have to be a teen?

by DJ

Question: I am thinking about writing a YA book but I was planning on making the main character around 23-25. Can I do that and still call it a YA book?

Answer: These days, YA readers range from 13-25, so you are within the range, though at the upper end. Plus, YA readers often like to read about characters a few years older than themselves.

The difference between YA and adult books at that age group has more to do with the types of issues being dealt with. YA heroes and heroines are generally conquering the world or making a place for themselves in it. They seldom have the cynicism about the world that you might find in books for older adults. (The Catcher in the Rye is an exception.)

Comments for Does a YA main character have to be a teen?

Click here to add your own comments

Aug 29, 2012
Thank You
by: DJ

Thank you so much for your help, you have given me new faith in my book idea.

Oct 18, 2012
I had the same problem...
by: Hana

I had the same problem with a 22-year-old heroine, and I read on Wikipedia that the young adult term categorized individuals between the ages of 12 to 24.

Then there's that New Adult genre that is floating around and labelled on stories where the characters are older (around 19-26), usually in college (or of college age, so out of high school), and most especially balancing their childhood with their adulthood (and their child fears and goals with their adult fears and goals.)

-All the best with your story, DJ!

Oct 18, 2012
Read my work
by: DJ

Thank you Hana, if you wanted to read some of my work I am on Wattpad. My username is Djdoonan, I am trying to get as many people as I can to read it.

Oct 18, 2012
You're welcome!
by: Hana

I'll definitely check you out!

Actually, I just started an account on Wattpad nearly a month ago myself, and I have yet to properly browse the site (what with school assignments/essays and now mid-terms). =D

Dec 14, 2012
Getting an Agent
by: LEM

I've just hit a road block while attempting to acquire representation for my novel. I have written the first book in a YA series where my main character is 22. An agent has just told me that my book IS NOT young adult because the character is not under 19 and therefore not acceptable in that genre. I am concerned as I honestly don't want my book in any other genre and I don't believe it will get the attention it deserves if it's cramped in in the mess of adult fiction books that litter bookstores. How does everyone feel about this? Am I really SOL on getting into the YA section? Is this some universally known thing? 19 and under? I am pissed.

Feb 03, 2014
Same problem here
by: Kats

Yeah, I had the same question. In my fantasy novel, the level of the book is YA/teen, and in readability terms probably accessible to around 12, so. Teen book, but the MC is implied to be in his early 20s, and the secondary character around 19. Thanks for clearing it up a little

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Character Invite.

search this site the web
search engine by freefind

Celebrating our 2nd year as one of the...

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero