I have a confession. I've always thought Middle Grade was for younger kids. When I saw bloggers with MG books in their hauls I used to wonder what sort of enjoyment they could gather from it. It was written for kids, so how could a fully grown adult think it worth their time?
I never thought of this in the context of YA before. Why wouldn't everyone want to read YA, it's awesome! It's not called YA because it's aimed at teens or young adults, it's called YA because of the age of the protagonists. It's really for any age, and any age can enjoy it. I hate reading articles about how adults should be reading high brow literature and adult books exclusively. The main point of reading is enjoyment in my opinion. If you enjoy reading award winning novels with amazing reviews go for it! If you enjoy reading the trashiest of novels with topless men on the cover, go for it! If you like reading any type of YA go for it.
I think the problem with these articles is that the writers simply can't understand why anyone other than a teenager would read a young adult book. For the longest time I felt the same way in regards to MG, never realising it was the same as what these articles were saying in regards to YA, though aimed at another type of book.
It was only recently I made the connection and it was all down to one book. I got Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin at BEA. I had read a quick synopsis beforehand and thought it sounded interesting. I picked it up a few days ago for the first time since I unpacked. I was simply looking over a few of the books I got from BEA and noticed on the back it stated the book was Middle Grade.I was really annoyed at myself at first. Why had I not done more research before picking it up? I had no interest in MG and yet I would have to read it, I didn't want to leave a book I had gotten from BEA unread. I felt it was unfair to the publisher who had given me this book, and I had grabbed it with the intent of reviewing it on this site. I kept it with me and decided to get it over with and started reading that evening. It's a small-ish book and I thought I'd get through it in a day or two due to the fact that I just knew I would be constantly putting it down because I didn't want to bother with it.
I began reading and could immediately tell it was an MG book. The language was very stilted and simplistic. I realised after a page or so that the narrator has Asperger's syndrome, a form of high functioning autism. The writing started to make more sense and felt quite well done. I started to enjoy reading it but put the book aside to browse twitter and watch TV. Within five minutes the book was back in my hand, the story taking root in my head and refusing to let go. I found myself enjoying the story immensely. The characters are really what made the story superb. I adored the narrator Rose, who has a fixation on homonyms, rules and prime numbers. Her father, a man who couldn't stand that his daughter wasn't "normal". Her uncle, who it was clear loved her deeply and always seemed to know what to do when her autism caused her to be uncomfortable.
I found myself lost in the story, unwilling to go to sleep until I had finished the whole thing, and as I cried, nearing the end of the story, I realised I had fallen head over heels in love with an MG book. This book had made me laugh, it had made me cry and had made me fall in love with it's characters. All this from a book written for children?!? It was then I realised that I was no different than the people writing the articles slamming YA. MG is not written just for children, it's simply written about them.
This book completely changed my perspective on Middle Grade novels. I don't think I'll be reading much MG in the future (my love for YA overpowers all!), but now I really understand why others do.
So maybe we should give the writers behind these anti-YA articles a break. After all maybe they just haven't found the right YA book yet.
If you're as excited about Rain Reign as you should be, then go enter the giveaway to be in with a chance of reading it early!