I am a middle school library media specialist. I am also a member of the Black-Eyed Susan Committee (Maryland state book award) for 6th – 9th grade. As such, I read a large number of middle grade fiction and non-fiction books and express my honest opinions of those books to both children and adults. Last night, as I updated my Goodreads account I decided to read what others have written about books I’ve recently read and I was a bit taken aback by some of the reviews. Apparently there are adult readers writing negative reviews of books for seeming juvenile. I’ll say that again, some adult reviewers are writing negative reviews of young adult and middle grade books for being too juvenile.
In a book targeted at a teen audience the language, the action, the thought processes, the drama, the angst of the characters, and the style of writing and presenting information are all going to be (or should be) geared to the tastes of teens - NOT adults. My students are increasingly more sophisticated in some ways, but their life experience and exposure to history is still quite limited when compared with that of most adults. Certain plot twists may seem obvious to an adult, but to a 13-year-old they may be fresh and unexpected. Short bites of information may seem lacking in depth to someone with background knowledge of the subject, but to those for whom this is new information it may be the right amount for them to process.
I am not saying that there are not books deserving of low ratings, but to knock them for catering to the intended audience seems unfair. While adults may read and enjoy YA fiction and non-fiction, they should be mindful that young adult books are written for young adults and in my opinion, should judge books through the lens of the those for whom the book was written.
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