YOUNG ADULT/MIDDLE READER
YOUNG ADULT/MIDDLE READER “Young adult, in fact, runs giggling over many many genres.” ~ Chuck Wendig. Yup, he said it best. Strictly speaking, these aren’t really genres as much as they are exactly what their nomenclature implies, the age range to which the writing is targeted. YA targets 14-18. Middle reader targets 8-13. It’s simple as that…except not quite.
So what defines YA and Middle Reader beyond the age range? Middle Readers can be adventure based but don’t have to be. Their themes and language are usually more basic and ultimately tend to be focused on the external. Outside forces will affect the protagonist, plot usually driving the tale, but they tend to be less focused on the internal landscape of the protagonist. If edgy serious situations are depicted in Middle Grade they are almost always handled in ways that avoid overt graphic depictions. That is to say avoid explicit. A Peck on the cheek, maybe a quick kiss on the lips, whereas YA can start delving into more mature situations.
While, YA reaches a far wider and diverse audience than just this age group, ultimately its native language should first and foremost be teen. The young adult novel very much needs to convincingly inhabit the teenage experience in all its range, depth and shallowness. It is absolutely crucial that it be relatable to teen readers of the group. Whether set in space, medieval Europe, or sub-Saharan Africa, there are aspects of the developing teenage mind coming of age that are generally universal. This needs to be at the fore in order for the YA to work. The protagonists in YA tend to fall into the mid to upper range of the targeted age group. The writing should be more complex than its predecessor, incorporating more sophisticated and mature themes. YA novels tend to be about overcoming one’s difficult situation, the teenage protagonists developing and changing through both internal and external stimuli and struggle. In YA the characters tend to have more definable development and employ their will and individuality on their environment.
Middle Reader Book Examples: Anne of Green Gables , Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Holes, Chronicles of Narnia, Artemis Fowl, Number the Stars. Early Harry Potter books
Young Adult Book Examples: The Giver, Shatter Me, Hunger Games, Monster, Immortal Instruments, The Fault in Our Stars, Zahrah The Windseeker, The Chaos, The Outsiders, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Latter Harry Potter books