Gearing up for Camp NaNo. Instead of focusing on either of my previous novel ideas (stand alone prequel of Gryphon Legend and an urban fantasy murder mystery) I’ve decided to try something else.
A middle-grade/YA fantasy novel. It’s not a genre I’m used too, and it will be a big change. I know some YA novels can get away with ridiculous stuff (look at The Hunger Games. Kids killing kids) but it takes quite a lot of word mastery to write such touchy subjects as murder and puberty without crossing the line between YA and adult.
I recently re-read the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman and tried to pay attention at how he blended what are essentially children’s books with high adult themes. I loved those books as a kid, but I will admit a lot of the stuff with the Magisterium and Dust and even the Authority went over my head.
Despite being “bad” I see this as a good thing. The best kids books are the ones that adults can enjoy as well. There is enough young stuff, that the average kid can enjoy the principle of the story, and then a wealth of things to discover reading again at a later date. I caught so much that I had missed or skimmed over when I was 11. It gives both children and adults a story they can enjoy, discuss and love together.
What are some of your favorite middle grade or YA stories? How do they discuss difficult subjects in a non-adult way? Do you believe adult subjects are good in younger grade books? Do you think it’s important to have a story people of all ages can enjoy, if intentionally written for younger people?