Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Let's Discuss: Books with Age-Defying Genres: Good or Bad?

Let's Discuss is a feature I created to discuss different bookish musings.


So there's something I've been thinking about lately. You know I'm one of those people who definitely pays attention to what genre a book is labeled as being. I can gloss over the subjects, but for the age (middle grade, adult, young adult) I do pay attention. 

Here's the thing. I'm currently reading a book by an author I have loved for many years. He normally writes adult fiction (hint: author of Wicked), but has an upcoming release that is labelled as being middle-grade. As I'm an avid middle grade enthusiast, I was ecstatic when I saw the eARC and got approved! So I've been reading it...and it's going very slowly. The pacing is slow. The language is flowery. The prose is very.. adult. There are numerous vocab words I had to look up. Yes, me. A 27 year old college graduate.. (Granted, that doesn't mean I'm smart, but still). ;) I can't help but wonder what a middle school kid would think about this. Would they feel duped? Or simply give up? Or would they like it? I just don't know.

It has me thinking: am I upset because of my disappointment in the book? Or, is it because I was expecting a middle grade novel, and got an adult novel smashed within middle grade parameters. I'm not quite sure, to be honest. I think it's a combination of both. I'm disappointed, I haven't even got halfway through it and it's been almost two weeks. :c If it wasn't an arc I had requested, I would have left it DNF by now. 

 I doubt highly that middle grade readers will like this book. Will adults like it? I don't know, so far I'm not liking it too much (and I'm an adult). Even the reviews on Goodreads are polarized on. People saying it's brilliant, many others saying it's a DNF, or not their cup o' tea. :||

So I gotta ask: 

Do you pay attention to the age range of a book? 

Does it bother you when a book doesn't fit its labelled age-range?




author image

Diamond

(aka Dee) has loved reading for as long as she can remember. She loves many things: fantasy novels, young adult fiction, her cat, painting, and horror films from the 70s. Diamond is a grad student at UCLA. She's pursuing a Master's in Library and Information Science.

12 comments :

  1. It does bother me when a book doesn't fit the age-rage. If I'm reading a book marketed as YA, but it feels more like a childrens/middle grade book, yea I'm upset. If I'm reading an adult book but it reads more YA, same thing. A book needs to fit the age range market appropriately so that people know what they're getting when they pick up a book. Parents wouldn't want their pre-teens to pick up a YA that is more adult than YA, now would they?

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  2. I don't read middle grade all to often so I've got to admit, this doesn't happen to me xD But I can totally see why it would bother you (it would bother me as well!) What I do have experience with is extremely young characters (say 5/6/7/8) having the vocabulary and train of thought beyond a sophisticated professor. I'm not saying they can't be geniuses but it just takes away from the realism, you know? Great post though, Dee!

    Jess @ MyReadingDress

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    1. That's EXACTLY what's going on with this book, Jess! It's super annoying. I feel like it should be done at this pt, but I'm only halfway through. I think my reviews gonna be scathing. :@ lol.

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  3. Sometimes these brackets annoy me, because they use character age, language and other factors, but those don't always consider things like depth, writing and vocabulary. Interesting subject. No classification is full proof but sometimes I feel like books get shoved in popular age brackets. For example Ugly Love..the characters are clearly adult, yet its labeled NA.

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    1. I know what you mean. And you're right, no classification is foolproof. But when they're really off, it can be a little weird. It catches you off guard, like ..wait, I was in the mood for YA and I'm reading adult now. Lol :P

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  4. I don't pay as much attention when its adult or ya or na as far as what flies because there are lots of age groups you can reach or have as the characters, but with mg I do expect the story to not have heavy wording and to be enough of a page-turner (at least these days) to hold a kid's attention. So, I'd probably feel the same way as you about this book. I do feel that classification can try to put a book into a square when it doesn't fit. A good book is really a good book and should connect and be appropriate for all readers. Really. I think about the classics and how they were never put into age brackets and how I read Robin Hood and David Copperfield and the Narnia books when I was a kid, but also find them enjoyable as an adult. That's good writing. :)

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    1. That's a really good point, Tressa! I think it while you're reading, u just enjoy it and it feels right, it works. But this vocab and all that is killing me! Plus, the pacing..argh I just don't know lol

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  5. This is a huge thing for me. I'll read them all but I want to know in advance. Right now with House of Ivy and Sorrow, I'm feeling this. It's labeled YA but to me it reads more like MG based on the depth of the characters and the (lack of) complexity of the plot. And I can't help but feel a bit deceived as that wasn't what I was expecting and if I picked it up thinking it was MG, I know I'd feel a lot more excited about it.
    Pitching a book as MG but then delivering an adult novel is even more disappointing. That could actually put a not so enthusiastic reader off reading and that's a scary thought.

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    1. Yeah I know you're not the only one that felt that with that book! And I'm glad you agree with me, I was feelin kinda bad with how critical I was being, but it's really bothering me :c

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  6. Feeling like a book is mis-characterized in whatever way does annoy me. Your situation is more unusual -- often I'll read YA and think that it feels more like middle grade. I rarely encounter a book that feels too old, but I agree. Middle grade needs to be fast-paced and imaginative. In my experience, kids that age have NO patience for slow-moving plots...
    Great topic :)
    Jen @ YA Romantics

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    1. Yeah, it is an unusual situation, isn't it? I agree..I feel like kids won't really put up for this. :/ oh well...it's slowing me down tho and that is annoying as all heck!

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  7. For me, it depends on the book itself. Shannon Hale's books have been marketed as middle grade, but her characters are mature and the language is not juvenile. It isn't "dumbed down fantasy," and I really appreciate that. While the language is not as complex as some of the YA fantasy books I've read, I feel like it's a good transition from MG to YA.

    It does bother me though when I pick up a YA book and feel like it's more suited for the MG range with its writing style and characterisation. :(

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