What is YA and does the older Author (myself) understand it?

I have just written and self-published my first novel, a funny fantasy story about an office worker and his adventures with a sarcastic wand… and seven trainee dwarfs.

When I mailed the synopsis and sample chapters to agents, the response I received was ‘this isn’t YA, as the MC is to old’…he’s 23.

Now, should I have an issue with this, or I don’t understand the term YA?

So what is YA?

For me it is literature that would appeal to the teenager due to its characters and storyline.  Or is it, as the agents would have me believe, only stories that involve a YA as its MC?

Is this correct?

Here’s why I think they may be wrong in assuming that YA books are all about YA aged heros/heroines…

Image

Yep, when I was a YA, we watched The Young Ones, a group of twenty something university students that…well, simply made us laugh.  So what are the YA audience watching today and does it give us a clue to their reading habits?

the big bang theory

Hmmm, yep, a program about a bunch of twenty something university professors.  Okay, so that’s TV and not literature and the YA genre is full of Twilight, Hunger Games and Potter, all of which are well below the age of my MC.  But the YA audience is also reading The Hobbit, the Discworld series, Star Wars, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Dune and countless others that don’t fit into the YA MC genre…and I’m not mentioning The Lord of the Rings series.

So, the question is, is YA a term for books that have a YA MC, or is it a term for books that the YA would enjoy?

I would love some feedback…

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