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Is this MG or YA?

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Hey all,

I'm currently writing my debut novel (mostly I write PB), and I am not sure if it is MG or YA. Everything I've read is telling me it's more YA but I kind of want it to be MG because I think I have a stronger MG voice. I will briefly describe the story and would love any thoughts on whether this thing works better as YA or MG.

Main character is a fox (all characters animals with limited anthropomorphic traits) who is about to enter his training and placement in the adult society. Story focuses on his self acceptance and settling into his community role as he and his friends move out of "kithood" into the world of grownups. There are moments of mild violence/danger and a hinted friend-to-romance sub plot that is very subtle--could be crush or later developed into a full on relationship (I have ideas for a few other books in this series).

Story has a lot of themes similar to THE GIVER which makes me think it may be better suited for MG. I am posting this same discussion on the YA board as well to let them chime in. I welcome your questions and thoughts!

Brian
#1 - March 20, 2018, 07:11 AM

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Sounds very MG to me, esp. with your reference to THE GIVER. Have you read some of the other animal stories? Rats of NIMH and sequels, Pax (this is younger MG)? It's solid MG.

By the way, I removed your post in YA because 1) we don't allow double posting because 2) it's best to have answers to your particular in one place
#2 - March 20, 2018, 08:09 AM
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Another vote for MG. You say your voice is MG, and this will weigh heavily in the choice. Animal characters are usually MG, your comp title is MG, your crush-romance is MG level, and your desire is to write MG. While some "finding your community role" is YA, the book you comp, THE GIVER, does that for MG. I think you'd run into more obstacles trying to spin this as YA.
#3 - March 20, 2018, 10:17 AM
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Yeah, agreed. I write both MG and YA and this does sound like something for more of the younger crowd. Good luck with this.
#4 - March 20, 2018, 11:36 AM
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Another vote for MG. You say your voice is MG, and this will weigh heavily in the choice. Animal characters are usually MG, your comp title is MG, your crush-romance is MG level, and your desire is to write MG. While some "finding your community role" is YA, the book you comp, THE GIVER, does that for MG. I think you'd run into more obstacles trying to spin this as YA.

That makes a lot of sense. I really do want it to be MG and now I'm seeing maybe it already is! Thank you, everyone!
#5 - March 20, 2018, 12:00 PM

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You're welcome, Brian!
#6 - March 20, 2018, 01:42 PM
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There are very few YA books with animal protagonists, but they do exist. I think voice is the real key though, that and characterization. To me, this could go either way. It depends very much on how you write it and handle the themes. If your voice is MG, it's likely the book will be.
#7 - March 20, 2018, 08:04 PM
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Another vote for MG.
#8 - March 21, 2018, 07:04 AM
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From your description, it sounds typically MG,  an animal coming-of-age story. However, the voice and the length would be the deciding factors. There are some animal YAs; for example, The Sight by David Clement-Davies, about wolves.
#9 - March 21, 2018, 02:47 PM
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