What kinds of subject matter are most popular in novels for young readers?

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from Beginning Writer's Answer Book, edited by Jane Friedman

The interest areas of young readers are limitless. They enjoy contemporary, fantasy, mystery, and historical novels and more—trends in subject matter for children’s books often reflect trends in adult publishing. Realistic treatment of current themes—including conflict with siblings or peers, dating and relationships, and struggles with school or family situations—interests both middle-grade and YA readers. Contemporary YA novels often delve into edgier material, including sexual situations and drug use. Books written for middle-grade and YA readers are often geared either for boys or girls, and the protagonist is generally several years older than the reader. It is best to keep adult involvement in children’s novels to a minimum, allowing the protagonists to solve their problems without adult intervention.

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