the content is overall a duplicate of [link] - if you'd like to start a separate discussion about writing romance, please make sure it's not already covered by an existing thread in this forum. FAQ #801:Are there any rules for the Forums?
Hi! One of the things I'd like to know is the popularity of YA romance today? I'm taking a romance writer's course but my specialty is really sentient animal fantasy (like Lion King, Watership Down, etc). I would love to stick with the fantasy aspect, but I don't know if my writer's voice will go over well in mainsteam adult romance vs YA in the fantasy subgenre
I've never been sure what people actually expect to go into a young adult book in the first place. Teenagers shouldn't have trouble with "difficult" language, and there doesn't seem to be anything to unite YA books in terms of genre, since they can still fall easily into any of the usual categories. If you haven't already, you might find it helpful to look into what makes books YA books rather than just plain books.
Also, you might be interested in looking outside fantasy, as neither of the things you've mentioned by name are especially fantastical. The Lion King has some definite fantasy elements, but Watership Down doesn't seem to dwell on anything particularly fantastical (though again, there is a splash of it in there). It's not a great fit, but Watership Down has got some definite similarities to "wild animal stories" such as those in [link] . The preview for that book is well worth reading as the first bit covers some of the differences between "realistic" animal stories and the more fantastical kind. Based on your conversation with ~Papillon-pourpre, I think you might find it quite helpful. If you want to check out any of the stories it mentions, there's a very good chance they're available online for free as most are very old.