Bookmarked Thoughts

Bookmarked Thoughts: Why I Love Middle Grade

As a sort of follow up from last week’s post, I thought I’d explain why I love middle grade, but have rarely connected with young adult books.

I  have no desire to read the majority of (mainstream) young adult for two main reasons:

First, my life hasn’t followed the path of the so-called stereotypical “teenage experience” – sex, drugs, road trips, soul searching, extreme angst… Even when I was the same age as the characters I was reading about, I found it impossible to connect with the majority of them. And now that I’m not, the only reason I’ll pick up a YA novel is if the plot is interesting.

Second, I can’t stand all the tropes and clichés – love triangles and insta-love, the formulaic dystopians and paranormal romances. I’ll only read YA if its unique, and creative.

Middle grade however, is a different story. In a lot of ways, I connect with the themes of the genre even more now than I did as a child. I can relate to the themes of finding your place in the world, because that’s exactly what I’m doing now in university. I can relate to the rampant imagination of children, because as an artist, I still often my myself lost in my own world.

Beyond that, the major reason is that I enjoy the creative and imaginative stories that are found in middle grade. Without the romance and personal issues found in YA, middle grade stories are just as, if not more complex than teen novels, and place greater attention of plot and storytelling. I find a lot of YA novels are way more simplistic and poorly written compared to MG ones.

I also love the sense of nostalgia that some novels evoke in me because unlike YA, I actually did experience most what constitutes the life of a typical character in middle grade fiction.

So middle grade most usually wins for me. And I don’t think this will ever change. I suspect I’ll always love middle grade fiction, especially the fantasy ones.

Do you prefer middle grade or young adult?



9 thoughts on “Bookmarked Thoughts: Why I Love Middle Grade

        1. The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove, A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge, Iron Hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill, The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel, The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden by Emma Trevayne, and The Apothecary by Maile Meloy are all blends of fantasy/paranormal/historical. Plus I’ll also have to recommend my favourite book – The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick 😀

  1. I especially love middle grade fantasy because there’s just this sense of wonder and curiosity and pure adventure that I love. Also, a lot of the worldbuilding is even better than YA and nothing is too weird in middle grade haha because like you said kids have a rampant imagination and everything just goes.

      1. Well one of my all time favorites is Percy Jackson but I’m sure you’ve heard of that one haha.
        I also love The False Prince by Jennifer Nielson; it’s kind of a medieval type fantasy with a really sassy main character.
        I don’t know how it stands now but I absolutely adore Magyk by Angie Sage.
        Dealing with Dragons is also really cute. It’s about a princess who runs away and befriends a dragon hehe.
        And I absolutely adore the first Edge Chronicles book by Paul Stewart. It’s filled with all sorts of weird creatures and is surprisingly dark for a middle grade.
        And one of my all time favorites is The Secret series with the first book being The Name of this Book is Secret. I highly recommend this if you like really quirky characters and puzzles and a lot of snark. It’s been often compared to Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.
        Sorry this just turned into a really ranty list LOL
        what are some of your favorites?

        1. Haha no worries, thanks for the recs 🙂

          These two aren’t just my favourite middle grades, but also some of my favourite books:
          Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz, it’s remarkably dark and gritty for middle grade and really magical with great characters and beautiful writing.
          Brian Selznick’s The Marvels, Wonderstruck, and especially the Invention of Hugo Cabret which is my absolute favourite book ever 😀 I just love the super innovative approaches to storytelling (sorry they’re not really fantasy but I couldn’t help but recommended them haha :P)

          Some others: Beyonders by Brandon Mull which is pretty much the closest thing to epic fantasy in middle grade, and The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi which is an awesome blend of fantasy and sci fi.

          1. Oooh Splendors and Glooms sounds like my type of thing and I’ve never heard of it! I adore Invention and Wonderstruck 🙂 but I haven’t read The Marvels yet! I love quickly you can read them but at the same time they’re just so magical.
            I’ve actually read Beyonders except the third book because I think I didn’t really like the series anymore. And I love the illustrations in The Search for WondLa! It was such a creative story

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