The director of my program, Sam, had something really fantastic to say about YA fiction the other day:
“I think of YA as a single instrument–like a flute solo. Adult fiction is more like an orchestra. There’s nothing wrong with either of them, and both can be enjoyable–they’re just shaped differently.”
Personally, I always want to ask YA detractors (i.e. people who use “YA” pejoratively–and yes, there are a lot of them) if they just came into their literary selves reading “adult” fiction. Unless they went from Hop on Pop to Dostoevsky without anything in between, chances are that YA was their stepping stone–and does not deserve their scorn.