In Defense of YA Movies: Why is ‘Young Adult’ Considered a Bad Term?

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It seems like every time we turn around, there’s someone giving a YA movie the backhanded compliment that “it isn’t your typical young adult story.” As if there even is a ~*typical YA storyline*~ that should be avoided… or else. Or else the movie won’t be taken seriously when compared to projects of other genres. Or else it’s immature and is just for kids. Or else it’ll be seen as cheap, underdeveloped and not worthy of the attention that it may get.

But what even is so bad about the YA genre that gives it such a bad rep? We’re obviously huge fans of it and love that a group of stories that cater to people like ourselves exists. Which is why we’re so excited for movies like If I Stay, which just hit theaters. Although, the same can’t be said of lots of critics, who are just worried that it will be more of the same.

So, just like the YA movies that came before it — like The Giver, which had to make its own case last week — the cast and author of If I Stay were forced to defend it against claims that it’d be “just another YA movie.” The Hollywood Reporter quotes Chloe as saying: “It deals with essential themes of life and love and family and friendships and passion for music and first love — there are so many themes in which we dealt with since we were 5 and 6 years old.”

It’s just weird that she chose those words to be the way she’d differentiate the movie from the movies that it’s being compared to. Because, really, those are the things that we all love about movies like The Fault in Our Stars and Divergent. And that’s a good thing! Because we don’t feel like the creators of YA-genre projects should feel pressure to prove that their project is worthy. In the same way that a drama has the room to be either mature and intriguing or terrible and clichéd, a YA movie should as well.

After all, it’s hardly the genre that makes the movie. And, if it is, then recent history shows that we should mostly be expecting well-written cry-fests with likable and relatable characters whenever we hear about a new YA movie.

What do you think of the sitch? Should actors, directors and authors have to defend their projects that fall under the umbrella of young adult? Let’s discuss.

WATCH: The If I Stay movie trailer, starring Chloe Grace Moretz!

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