A recent article in Studio System News (SSN) discussed the appeal of what it described as “YA lit” to studios and motion picture production companies. (You can read the original article here.) The writer of the article described all literature aimed at children and teens as “YA.” This is not uncommon, but it goes quite a long way toward explaining why Hollywood keeps making movies based on successful book series and ends up scratching its collective head when the box office results are disappointing. I initially wrote this article in the comments section of the article, but I think it bears repeating.
Basically, there seems to be some confusion in the entertainment industry as to what exactly constitutes a YA novel. The publishing industry sees Middle Grade (books intended for 10+) and YA (books intended for teens) as distinct markets. While there is a great deal of crossover between the Middle Grade age group and the age group that reads YA, the publisher-imposed definitions have a great effect on what actually makes it to market.
My first two novels Spellbinder and The Midnight Gate are Middle Grade. Those books feature a girl, Belladonna Johnson, and a boy, Steve Evans, who travel to the Land of the Dead. My third novel (as you know if you’ve been following this blog) is Paradigm, a scfi story with a male lead, Sam Cooper. This was when my troubles began.
Publishers love Middle Grade books with boys as the central character. The Harry Potter books, Percy Jackson, Ender’s Game, The Wardstone Chronicles, The Golden Compass, City of Ember, The Giver, and Artemis Fowl (all categorized in the article as YA) are actually Middle Grade. However, The Hunger Games, The Mortal Instruments, and Divergent are squarely YA and aimed at teen readers. Read the rest of this entry »