Footnotes: 5 Articles on the Differences Between Middle Grade and Young Adult

Footnotes is a recurring series
on the GLA blog where I pick a subject and provide several interesting
articles on said topic.
Two of the most popular writing categories these days are
Young Adult and Middle Grade. They encompass many of the same
characteristics but are shelved in different areas. Here are 5 articles
on their differences.

1. Where is it shelved? One librarian gives her view.

2. Make ‘em real. Children Book insider publisher Laura Backes gives her tips for creating believable Middle Grade and Young Adult characters.

3. Perspective, Perspective, Perspective. The main difference between MG and YA lies within the perspective of the main character, writer Ruthanne Reid explains.

4. Drawing the line. Agent Michael Stearns breaks down the differences between middle grade and young adult. 

5. Get out of the gray area. Agent Mary Kole gives her advice in determining if your story’s MG or YA.

This guest series by writer
Nancy Parish, who runs her
blog, The Sound and Furry.


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4 thoughts on “Footnotes: 5 Articles on the Differences Between Middle Grade and Young Adult

  1. Lisa

    I think it’s really funny that one of these articles uses Harry Potter as an example of MG while another article uses Harry Potter as an example of YA. Just goes to show how blurry the line between the genres can get! Although my personal opinion is that HP is a series that spans both genres as the characters brilliantly mature to match their readers: Books 1-3 are MG, and Books 4-7 are YA. And actually, I think you can learn a lot about the differences between MG and YA by looking at how the HP series changes. First three books are about saving the world, with simpler vocabulary, plotlines, and characters. And the protag is age 11, 12, and 13. Book 4, all of a sudden the tone and vocabulary take a jump in complexity, the length increases considerably (remember all the talk by critics when Book 4 was published about how it was too long for kids?), and a sympathetic character dies. Great example of the dividing line of maturity and "edginess" between MG and YA–and no sex or drugs necessary, either.

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