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Age of MC

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I know there's been a lot of discussion about what the age of a YA or MG protagonist should be, but I have a slightly different question.

I'm writing a historical novel, set in about 1910 Wyoming and California. The MC is post-high school, maybe as old as 20. Is that too old to be YA?
#1 - November 08, 2010, 11:57 AM
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I've read books that I think have been considered sort of YA/Adult where the character is that old.  Can you make the character a tad younger, maybe 18?  Then I think there'd be no question.
#2 - November 08, 2010, 12:43 PM

I might be able to do that. He has to be strong, however. A boy who can outwork most adults in a coal mine.
#3 - November 08, 2010, 04:05 PM
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I think an 18-year-old could be pretty strong, especially if it's been established he's been working hard at whatever (or several whatevers) for several years. I know I've seen reference to boys as young as 13 or even a little younger who would have been working with, if not maybe even as, cowboys back in the Old West days, for example. 
#4 - November 08, 2010, 07:18 PM

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Rather than start another thread on the topic, do you mind if I ask a question here about my own WIP? (And in response to yours, I think just making your MC 17 or 18 would be an easy fix)

I think my book is going to be aimed at kids around 10-14; while the book is not super-complicated, it isn't a straightforward, happy-go-lucky MG either. My MC is eleven and her two male friends are 12 or 13. Is this too young?

The thing I'm thinking about is that once girls hit their teens, all they think about is boys, and there is going to be no romance in this book at all, it's an historical adventure/ thriller. I really want my MC to be a child, not a young adult. I mean, by the time I was 12, I was the same height and not far off the same build that I am now, and strangers used to think I was 17 (ok maybe I was an early developer, but still).

I remember Lyra in His Dark Materials was ten or eleven when it began, even though the book was, I think, far too complex for readers any younger than that and probably even of that age (I know I spent ages going Duh, what exactly IS dust?). Obviously, I am not a genius like Philip Pullman, and that was a very successful crossover book too.

What do you think?
#5 - November 25, 2010, 08:26 PM
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