|Example of age banding on a YA book cover|
To wrap the series up, the discussion comes back home. I've asked Little M (who is 12) what she thinks about YA content:
M: What do you think the difference is between younger children’s books and YA/teen books?
Little M: It depends on the type of book. Like Michael Morpurgo compared to the Twilight series - they have completely different types of speech, different happenings, different concepts. Twilight is more about romance and Morpurgo is usually about helping animals in the war. The younger books are more childish and the YAs are more grown-up.
M: Do you think all YA books are appropriate for all teenagers?
Little M: I don’t know. I don’t really know all the book types. All the teenage books I’ve seen are appropriate.
M: What do you think about swearing in books?
Little M: I think sometimes you need it if it’s in a situation where it’s needed but not in every single sentence that they say.
M: What do you think about violence in books?
Little M: It depends what type. Some books are based on violence like The Hunger Games. But others like Divergent don’t need as much violence. I’m trying to think of a book that has violence but doesn’t need it….
M: Well, if you did read one that had it in, what would you think about that?
Little M: I’d think that the author maybe needed to put something more exciting in the book - but it didn’t work.
M: Do you think that age ratings on book covers would be useful?
Little M: Yeah, I think they would be useful if you could actually see them. They’re like tiny on the back. It gives a bit of guidance to people who might not know what the author’s writing style is like. Say you’re 12 and you want to start reading teenager type of books and you don’t know where to start then you can see age ratings for books and if you look at that book you can go, “Oh I like it” and then read it.
M: But would an age rating of 11 or 10 put you off?
Little M: It depends on the blurb as well and the first few pages. If the blurb sounds pretty dull or too childish for your likings then maybe you don’t read it.
|Example of a Hot Key Ring from Hot Key Books|
Little M: It looks really good but you would still need the age guidance. Because, say you had 30% Science and 15% Romance and 15% Magic, it doesn’t tell you if it’s an adult book or a child’s book. It could be like a massive adult crime scene compared to a Maximum Ride type of book. The kid’s one will be easier to read in writing style and it won’t have as much in the violence or swear words.
M: Do you think there is anything that shouldn’t be in a teen book?
Little M: It depends what type of teen book. If it’s like a 13-14, then a bit less violence, romance and that’s about it. But then maybe in a 15 up, just normal – like adult.
M: So then what’s the difference between YA and Adult?
Little M: By the time I’m 15 I probably won’t be reading as many Young Adult books but reading more Adult books.
M: Have you got some favourite books that you would recommend for 12 year olds?
The Maximum Ride series - James Patterson.
His Dark Materials (all 3 books) - Philip Pullman
War Horse – Michael Morpurgo
Wonder – RJ Palacio
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
Between Shades of Gray – Ruta Sepetys
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece – Annabel Pitcher
Thank you to everyone who has taken part in this blog series: authors Sita Brahmachari, Savita Kalhan, Bryony Pearce, Miriam Halahmy and blogger Jim Dean (YA Yeah Yeah). And this is where I started it all off.