YA, NA and MG Fiction Defined With Recommendations

Most readers will be familiar with the genre of books referred to as YA, but what about NA and MG?

Young Adult (YA)Eleanor & Park
YA fiction generally contains novels written for readers aged in their teens, or more specifically between the ages of 13 and 20. The stories feature teenage protagonists and often explore themes of identity and coming-of-age. Having said that, YA novels can be from any genre, science fiction, contemporary, fantasy, romance, paranormal etc. Some popular YA novels include the Harry Potter series, Hunger Games series, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Middle Grade (MG)
MG novels are generally written for readers aged between 8-12 years, with main characters less than 13 years of age. Themes can include: school, parents, relationship with siblings and friends, being good or misbehaving. Just like every genre, some MG books can have an underlying message (e.g. be kind to animals).

Some examples of popular MG novels include: Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney, Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.

New Adult (NA)A Court of Thorns and Roses
NA fiction is a relatively new genre in publishing, and in my opinion grew from the popularity of adult audiences reading and enjoying YA novels (Twilight and The Fault in Our Stars). The genre is situated between YA and adult fiction and protagonists are generally between 18-30 years of age. Themes include leaving home, starting university, choosing a career, sex and sexuality.

Some popular NA novels include: Slammed by Colleen Hoover (called CoHo by her fans), The Night Circus by Erin MorgensternA Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas and The Elephant Tree by R.D. Ronald.

On my TBR ListInheritance
I have a number of books on my to-be-read pile from the genres mentioned above, including: Inheritance by Christopher Paolini, Matilda by Roald Dahl, Reasons She Goes to the Woods by Deborah Kay Davies, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition by Jacob Grimm, The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes and 100 Cupboards by N. D. Wilson. What’s on your list?

Whether you enjoy MG, YA or NA fiction, the most important thing is that you don’t allow yourself to become pigeon-holed. Enjoy your reading, keep an open mind and explore new authors. You never know where your next favourite book might come from.

Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

9780803740709Well, just WOW. I did not expect to be terrified absolutely witless while reading this. BUT I WAS. This book is wonderful and addictive and…frightening.  If you need me, I shall be the one rocking in the corner giving random pterodactyl screeches from the trauma. True story.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes is about cults, juvie, a handless girl, and learning to think for yourself. I love anyone or anything that promotes thinking for yourself. So this book automatically climbed to epic proportions for me.

Also it’s a retelling of The Girl Without Hands by the Brothers Grimm! Now. I am a nerd and, because I didn’t know the original fairy tale very well, I researched and wow, just wow. There are SO many references to the original! It’s really quite clever. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly did tiny things like referencing a pear orchard, to adding an “angel” (well, that’s someone’s name), to WHO does the cutting of Minnow’s hands. BUT! The book also stands completely on it’s own if you don’t know the original tale.

Basically Minnow Bly escapes her cult after her hands are cut off and then ends up kicking someone half to death and is sent to Juvie. We meet her roommate, Angel, who is sassy and incredible and so well written. Minnow learns how to read and sheds her naivety. There is so much character development a9781460750780nd change — and not just for Minnow but for the secondary characters too! There’s emphasis on family (good and negative) on consequences and actions, on murder vs revenge vs self-defence. It critiques the justice system. It asks really hard questions (like can self-defence be an okay reason for murder?) and it explores friendship between unlikely people. It melted my heart several hundred times.  I was in awe of Minnow and I adored her. She’d been through psychological and physical torture (HER HANDS GOT CUT OFF OMG) and yet she could still stand and fight at the end?!? She still had hopes and dreams and wanted things.

Also it’s quite creepy and bloody and gory. The cult has a TON of horrific punishments. After the first 100-pages I was very creeped out….aaaand I couldn’t stop reading.

It did have a lagging, slow spot about 3/4 in though, but mostly the action was go! go! go! It’s written with a “thriller” vibe, so you know the end result (Minnow is in jail, handless) but WHY and what happened with the cult? And who burned things? AND WHO IS DEAD? And who’s the killer?! And you just keep flipping pages to find out!

But basically this was a solidly fabulous debut! It was a glorious retelling, yet a fabulous story on it’s own. It was freaky and terrifying and addictive. This author has shot onto my I-will-read-anything-she-writes list.

 

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