What is the most popular YA Genre ?

When I started my YA 101 series a month ago, I put out a request for readers, between the ages of 13 and 20 to take part in a not so scientific poll to find out what they like to read and what is their favorite genre.  The results surprised even me.  Below are the questions I asked and below that are my results.

Out of the following categories, what is your favorite genre to read:

  • Adventure (i.e.:  Island of the Blue Dolphin; Harry Potter)
  • Contemporary (i.e.:  Sarah Dessen novels; The Fault in our Stars)
  • Dystopian (i.e.: Hunger Games; Divergent)
  • Fantasy / Sci Fi (i.e.:  Eragon / I am Number Four)
  • Paranormal Romance (i.e.: Twilight, Beautiful Chaos)
  • Steampunk (i.e.:  Cinder; Leviathan)
  • Urban Fantasy (i.e.:  Percy Jackson; City of Bones)

How do you find books to read?

  • Friends
  • Library
  • Parents
  • Book club
  • Teacher

What is the most important element in a book?

  •  Characters
  • Setting
  • Plot
  • Other

 How often do you read?

  • Every day.  I devour books
  • Eh, maybe 2 – 3 days a week
  • More like 2 – 3 days a month
  • Seriously?  Who has time to read?
  • Something in between

How old are you?  


49 people responded.

Ages:    20% were under the age of 17.  The other 80 % were 17 to 20.

Where did they find their reading material?  

  • 41% from their parents;
  • 18% from friends;
  • 15% from teachers;
  • 11% from libraries/bookstores;
  • 8% from book clubs;
  • 7% from media.

Frequency of reading

  • 61% – every day
  • 21% – 2 – 3 days a week
  • 12% – something in between
  • 6% – 2 – 3 days a month

Most important element of a book: (this one surprised me.  I thought it would be the other way around)

  • 71% – Characters
  • 29% – Plot

And for the big question?  Favorite Genre to read?

  • 37% – Dystopian
  • 35% – Urban Fantasy
  • 21% – Harry Potter – fantasy adventure stories
  • 5% – Fantasy
  • 2% – Contemporary Fiction (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Epic Tales of a Misfit Hero being specifically mentioned)

Do you agree with the results?  If you read YA, how would you answer the questions?

Related articles

32 thoughts on “What is the most popular YA Genre ?

  1. I’d like to point out that Harry Potter isn’t a genre, and that fantasy adventure and fantasy are the same thing. Also, adventure isn’t a genre, because every story is an adventure.

    I’m also disappointed that not all the choices for genre were listed in the results. A shame, because the results weren’t even listed under the same name as the choices.


    1. Hi R.B.:

      Thank you for your comment.

      The results were as reported by the people who responded. We all know that Harry Potter isn’t a genre, however, they listed it under fantasy adventure because they didn’t know which genre to place it under. It’s not urban, it’s not straight fantasy and it’s not just ‘adventure’.

      According to Writer’s Digest, “Adventure” is a genre. Here’s what they have to say:

      Adventure Story

      A genre of fiction in which action is the key element, overshadowing characters, theme and setting. … The conflict in an adventure story is often man against nature. A secondary plot that reinforces this kind of conflict is sometimes included. In Allistair MacLean’s Night Without End, for example, the hero, while investigating a mysterious Arctic air crash, also finds himself dealing with espionage, sabotage and murder.

      As for not all genres being listed, not all of them received responses, so they weren’t included in the final results. And, all the choices were listed under the genres and under the results. Even if you read beside Harry Potter, it says fantasy adventure story.

      Again, thank you for commenting. If you run a similar poll, I would be interested to see if your results were similar to mine.


  2. Something that stood out in the results for me: Diary of a Wimpy kid is not YA lit. It’s being read my 1st-4th graders at our school, primarily the 2nd and 3rd graders. I see my son, going into 4th grade this year, being influenced mostly by his interests (cats/dogs, gadgets/contraptions/inventions) and friends. Many kids his age are choosing to read graphic novels.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I didn’t see this post until Jennifer M reblogged it. That is interesting! I know it’s too late for your survey, but out of interest, my daughter is 14 and knowing what I know about her reading habits, I think her answers would be –

    Where reading material is from – Friends (definitely friends! Ever since I recommended Judy Blume to her a few years ago, and she couldn’t get into the books at all, she has not taken any notice of my suggestions!).

    Frequency – I can’t decide between every day, or every 2-3 days, it depends on how much school work/social activities she has on, and how much she is really into a book.

    Most important element – I might have guessed plot, but it would just be a guess and she’s not here to ask.

    Genre – Dystopian (definitely).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Funny, My son took part, and I think all of his answers were in the top categories. These are the same answers I would have given, too. I’m happy to see that parents are involved in kid’s reading.

    Now, what would be a fun poll – Why children who do not read a lot, don’t’ well, read a lot. What would make them want to read?


  5. Very interesting survey/results. I was surprised that most of their reading material comes from their parents.

    Given the age of the majority of respondents I think it makes sense they would be more into character than plot.

    Did you do a gender breakdown?


  6. really cool post. I love Young Adult. I bet if you polled to an older group you would get different results. My fav is paranormal/fantasy. I read mostly every day and prefer the story above all else. I get a lot of recommendations from Goodreads/friends.


  7. Since I’m an adult who still loves reading YA even though I will no longer be able to use my kids and my job for an excuse, I’m not surprised by the fact that adults are reading this genre. I think the genre question was the most interesting. Do you think dystopian is ahead of urban because there are more books in that category right now or because of the specific titles you mentioned in your examples?
    Also, since my WIP is straight fantasy, I’m pretty bummed that category didn’t rank higher. Thanks for passing this along, Jenny.


    1. I agree. My work is fantasy, too. I was hoping for a higher # but then again, only 49 people responded. I think the poll would have been different had there been more people and I surveyed all age groups.


    2. I’m not sure why Dystopians lead the trail in this poll. I think it might have to do with The Hunger Games and City of Bones movies coming out this year.


  8. Send me an article promoting yourself and your books Jenny – go to my blog Contact Me and see what I need from you – make sure you mark the email subject clearly GUEST AUTHOR and I will post it on my blog and in all the other places I have a presence 🙂


    1. Aww, shucks. Thanks!! 🙂 I don’t have any books out yet, but I do have two short stories – one published, the other is coming out in December. If you still want me to send my info, let me know.


    1. Wow. Thanks! I wish I’d had more responses but then again, I did ask for a specific age group. For a YA author, I don’t have much of a following in my target group. I wonder how to change that….:-)


Please join in

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.