Yesterday I spent a few minutes on Minnesota Public Radio with Kerri Miller and Stephanie Curtis in an attempt to convince them (and their listeners) that Young Adult (YA) novels are not the same thing as Middle-Grade (MG) novels, and that calling A Wrinkle in Time the “best YA novel of all time”* is, well, sort of missing the point of what YA is.
I failed. It seems that Minnesota Public Radio, following the example of Entertainment Weekly,** wants to use the YA label to cover a much wider range of literature than it was ever intended to encompass. All those persnickety librarians, teachers, authors, and publishers who think there is a meaningful difference are simply behind the times, clinging to their outmoded and arcane vernacular. In this brave new world, any novel written for, or about, or read by children can be fairly slapped with the YA label. As Stephanie Curtis so helpfully pointed out, arguing about the difference between YA and MG is like talking about Puffs being different from Kleenex. It’s so much easier to just call them all Kleenex.
Sigh. Hand me a tissue. I mean, a Kleenex.
*If you click on the link, be sure to scroll down and read the comments, where several YA and MG authors weigh in on the issue.
**MPR, EW, what’s the difference? Don’t get technical on me, it’s all Popular Media.