The Teen Reader

Your source for reviews and ratings on every type of YA fiction.

Guide to Genres

All, or nearly all, of the books reviewed on The Teen Reader are YA or teen novels. However, we use a few sub-genres to represent the specific content of the book. If you’re confused about the difference between urban fantasy and science fiction, here’s the explanation.

General Fiction: This refers to general YA fiction that doesn’t fit in a specific genre; it’s simply a story, which takes place in the modern, realistic world that we live in. No fancy stuff.

Fantasy: A story that occurs, generally, in another world, and includes all the common fantasy elements such as wizards, unicorns, dragons, fairies, and peasant children who fulfill age-old prophecies.

Urban Fantasy: Refers to a story that incorporates fantasy elements, but occurs in our modern world (think Twilight, in which vampires and werewolves inhabit the modern American town of Forks, Washington).

Science Fiction: Much like fantasy, classic sci-fi involves things that are completely made up and don’t actually exist in our world, such as time travel and aliens. However, it is unlike fantasy in that it uses science or technology to explain how these things could someday occur.

Urban Science Fiction: This genre, also referred to as speculative fiction, is sci-fi that occurs in our own place and time, rather than on Mars or a thousand years into the future. (Think Maximum Ride, genetically-altered kids with wings are flying around NYC in 2008.)

Historical Fiction: General fiction, with no fancy stuff, that occurs a significant amount of years into the past. This has nothing to do with content and everything to do with setting. Generally we classify any book set 50 years ago or longer as historical fiction.

Action/Adventure: Pretty obviously, this describes a book that centers around a violent, quest-like plot. It will involve fights, chases, escapes…stuff like that.

Romance: Okay, we think you know that one. 😀


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