I’ve decided to make my Mondays alternate discussing MG and YA books, because I’ve been reading far more YA books lately and am writing an YA novel.
Plus, I’ve been inventorying my tastes.
Someone came up to me at the Lit Fest this weekend and said, I don’t really like fantasy. I’ve heard this said before and it doesn’t bother me. We have our tastes. (Although, I do suggest that no one dismiss and entire genre. Fantasy isn’t just wizards and dragons, just as romance novels aren’t all sap and cheese)
I was looking at some old GoodReads reviews of mine and thought I might have been overly critical. Obviously, book review’s are critical by nature is about, but really, almost all of it is personal opinion. And personal opinion is related to taste.
The more MG/YA books I read the more I understand what defines the levels of these demographics, and the more I appreciate the difference.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m not generally fond of younger MG novel’s “cartoonish” quality (the Lightning Thief book for instance). Early on, I think I saw this kind of writing as a negative thing, but it’s not. It’s just my taste. (although I’m reading The True Meaning of Smekland right now, which is very cartoonish, but just too funny to put down).
I’ve come to realize that I’m drawn to upper middle grade work, sliding into YA. When it gets past the simple characters and the clear-cut nature of good/bad – right/wrong stories and moves into the coming-of-age realm. And now that I think of it. I’ve always loved coming-of-age stories. The kind of story where the kid is forced to grow up, deal with issues, go to a darkish place, and come out changed/individualized. They can’t go back, they know more now, and probably have the scars to prove it.
As one publisher said, MG stories are generally about fitting in and YA stories are about breaking out – becoming one’s own person. I guess I am drawn to what straddles those worlds.
Coming of Age is not a genre. It’s an archetypal story. Characters can come of age in any time in history, any place in the galaxy, no matter if they are humans, vampires, or aliens. They can come of age at different ages as well. When they are born, in what circumstances, and in what culture determines this.
So even though Percy Jackson doesn’t do it for me, he does it for many others. And I’ve learned to appreciate that.
What about your tastes? What are they? Do you always gravitate towards them, or do you venture out and try something new?
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