analysis of genres

This post is going to be about different YA genres, with descriptions and stuff, so that you know what to look for, if you’re new to young adult, or curious.

This is by no way a comprehensive analysis, and *be warned* I will probably get it slightly wrong.

My book shelf from different angles, sorted by genre.
My book shelf from different angles, sorted by genre.

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These books are set in the modern world. They use real place names and people, and reference to real things. Theoretically, they could actually happen, but its still fiction. I read these books because they often have adorable romances and give me a new perspective on things. Often standalones.

Examples; The Museum of Intangible Things, The Fault in Our Stars, Thirteen Reasons Why, If I Stay, Love and Other Foreign Words, et cetera.


These books are set in a future. Sometimes they are set in real settings (e.g. Chicago in Divergent), but usually something terrible has happened, the people are oppressed in some  way, and it is often set after the apocalypse. I like these books because there are so many different futures and they give interesting insights into our way of life. Plus the characters ar e often very awesome. Dystopic books are often grouped in trilogies. Can have paranormal or science fiction aspects.

Examples: The Hunger Games, Divergent, Under the Never Sky, The Darkest Minds.


Fantasy means magic. Harry Potter, The Infernal Devices, and Protector of the Small are all fantasy books. There can be low fantasy, where magic exists in the real world, like Harry Potter (The Infernal Devices belong to a sub category of this, urban fantasy), middle fantasy, where there is a real and another world (like Phillip Pullmans Northern Lights), and characters can move between them, and high fantasy, where the world is wholly fictional, though it may draw on aspects of the real world (Like the Graceling sequence). i love fantasy. Fantasy is one of my favourite genres. The worlds are exciting, there are fights between good and evil (even better is when there isn’t good or ever: just protagonists. I love how Sarah J. Maas used Manons point of view in Heir of Fire so that I still wanted her to win, though she was intent on killing). Magic is illogical and wonderful (except in eragon where it is just wonderful). Series are often longer, more than three books.

Examples: The Old Kingdom Chronicles, Tamora Pierce, Cassandra Clare, Sarah J. Maas, Harry Potter, David Eddings, (these are authors and series by the way), Christopher Paolini.


Retellings are stories set in a different world, and often modernised (or post- modernized). This isn’t really an offcial genre, and these books can fit into other categories as well. Often series, but not always.

Examples: The Looking Glass Wars (Alice in Wonderland, middle fantasy, historical fiction), Ash (Cinderella, LGBT), The Lunar Chronicles (Fairytales, dystopia, low fantasy), For Darkness Shows the Stars (Persuasion, dystopia), Ironskin (Jane Eyre, steampunk, fantasy)

Historical Fiction

Set in the past. I love the detail and insights that these books give. They are often intelligent and well researched. They can be set in the very distant past or closer to today. Historical fiction is defined by its historical setting, based on fact. I enjoy historical fiction for its characters and settings (plus you can use it to “study” for history exams). No series length that is defined.

Examples: Nefertiti, The Montmaray Journals (Shanti approved), I Capture the Castle, Eleanor and Park..

Science Fiction (Sci-Fi)

Set in a world, usually different to our own, based on science rather than magic. Often mysterious and outer-spacey. I like these books for their original premise and complex world-building. Steampunk usually comes under this category too, as does Terry Pratchett ( who should be a genre of his own) Lots of overlap with Fantasy, but fantasy can have science fiction elements, but science fiction doesn’t usually have fantasy elements.

Examples: Mortal Engines, Across the Universe, Artemis Fowl, Never Let Me Go

That is it for today. There are other genres, like romance and paranormal, but these are the ones most important to me. This week I’m reading the Coldest Girl in Coldtown and I just finished Crown of Embers by Rae Carson. The cliffhanger is killing me.

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