Filipino authors on what makes our young adult stories distinct

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Writers (from left) Ines Bautista-Yao, Maria Lea, and Danice Mae P. Sison, talk about why they write young adult stories and what makes the kilig in Filipino YA distinct.

Young adult books continue to fly off the shelves, even in the middle of the pandemic. In 2020, unit sales of YA books rose to 6.4 percent for the nine months ended in October 3, 2020, as compared to 2019, according to NPD Scan. The YA category sold 2.5 million units in the first nine months of 2020 alone, according to a report by Publishers Weekly. YA stories also continue to dominate cultural consciousness as stories get more diversified and adapted into different media, such as films and T.V. shows like “Shadow and Bone,” “Finding You,” and “Fear Street.”

In the Philippines, the YA scene is also thriving. YA books dominate the bestseller list of National Book Store as well as in Anvil Publishing’s popular books on sites like Shopee. YA books such as Adam Silvera’s “They Both Die at the End” and the Percy Jackson series are also among the bestsellers of local independent bookstore Fully Booked online.

READ: 8 YA books written by Filipino authors

“Although it’s primarily young adults who experience this specific set of problems, most of the readers of YA novels are adults,” says young YA writer Maria Lea, who has published novels on Wattpad as well as in Anvil Publishing’s YA imprint Bliss Books, in partnership with Wattpad. “They feel nostalgic when they relate to a particular plot in a novel.”

It should be noted that Filipino YA books are also in terms of genre — from books such as Edgar Calabia Samar's Janus Silang series, the horror novels of Bliss Books, and graphic novels such as those in Adarna Books

In this brief discussion on YA writing in the Philippines, she is joined by #romanceclass writers Danice Mae P. Sison (“Flipping the Script” and the BL series “Boys’ Lockdown”) and Ines Bautista-Yao (“One Crazy Summer,” “Swept Off My Feet,” and “What’s in Your Heart”). They talk about why they want to write young adult stories and what makes the kilig of Filipino YA distinct.

Watch the discussion below.

Interview and video by SAMANTHA LEE