The Writer

THE IN-BETWEENERS

Two years ago, during the Writing Popular Fiction MFA winter residency at Seton Hill University, a discussion broke out amongst my students in a critique workshop geared toward young adult (YA) writers: They didn’t think YA novels were really written for teens anymore, or at least early teens, yet most middle grade (MG) fiction felt as though it belonged more in the chapter book and younger reader category. Much of this concern was prompted by the idea that more adults were now reading YA than teens were. Just look at the most recent Nielsen studies, which show that at least 80% of worldwide sales for YA novels are by adults for adults.

It was understandable that many of my students are now worried that what they were writing wasn’t edgy enough for this new YA trend toward mature readers and wondered if truly age-appropriate fiction, where there was a younger teen protagonist, should actually be geared toward the MG audience. They weren’t the only ones concerned. I had just started

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