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Adult relationships in middle grade?

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I'm trying to outline a new plot and I had an idea for a motive for a crime which involves a woman secretly liking a particular man, being jealous and trying to get him away from another woman. It is a subplot to the main plot, which isn't about these people's relationships at all, but the crime IS part of the main plot as it needs to be solved by my MC, a ten-year-old.

I've been trying to think of middle grade books that involve adults in this way (one adult having a crush on another and it being a subplot) and the only one I can come up with is rather old - HALF MAGIC by Edward Eager.

Is this the kind of subplot that might put off middle-grade readers? Or is it just a case of how it's handled? In HALF MAGIC it all seems quite innocent and that's how I was going to try and handle it, but perhaps I should just come up with a different crime and perpetrator.
#1 - September 16, 2013, 09:56 AM

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In Harry Potter there's Hagrid and Madame Maxime. There's a bit of attention paid to them flirting with each other throughout Goblet of Fire. Not sure if that's prominent enough to help.
#2 - September 16, 2013, 11:00 AM

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Kristin Kittscher just released a book called THE WIG IN THE WINDOW. A crime committed by adults is discovered by two elementary school aged girls. I think they're eleven? You should check it out.
#3 - September 16, 2013, 11:03 AM

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Oh brilliant, thanks, Tracy! I read a blurb about that book and it sounds oooh so good.

And Anthony - thank you. Yes, I'd forgotten about those two. Harry says something about them having huge kids or something. Funny.

Thanks!!
#4 - September 16, 2013, 11:06 AM

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If memory serves, MALCOLM AT MIDNIGHT has an adult romance as a subplot. I believe two adults in the school end up engaged.
#5 - September 16, 2013, 12:40 PM
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There's one in SAVVY by Ingrid Law which is a funny and cute little subplot. I feel like there are a LOT more out there that I can't think of, too. And not all of them are cute and sweet either. Think about cinderella-type stories with a potential new (unpleasant) step-parent in the mix. In general, I don't think it's something that necessarily would put off MG readers at all. It helps a lot if the characters are really interesting in some way, too, whether that means they're extra- evil or funny or quirky or whatever.
#6 - September 16, 2013, 02:24 PM
« Last Edit: September 16, 2013, 02:29 PM by Lwrites »

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Brilliant. Thanks all. I feel far happier moving forward now... and I've also got some lovely new books on order!
#7 - September 16, 2013, 02:51 PM

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In A Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin the MC's uncle has a crush on a woman who lives in the MC's family's boarding house.
 
This book won a Newbery and I loved the story, but I have to admit, when I finished reading it to my kids, who were both in elementary school, I felt it was too mature for them. I think it's better suited for 7th and 8th grade. I think I'm kinda getting off topic, but hope this helps.  :sheep
#8 - September 18, 2013, 04:09 PM
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