YA & MG Are NOT The Same Thing

On 2014-04-21 by Karen M. Dillon


Lately I’ve been witnessing what is somewhat of an epidemic among people (mainly other writers) who believe that YA (Young Adult) and MG (Middle Grade) books are basically the same thing. As not only a writer of YA but an avid reader of YA too, this is something that seriously pisses me off.


Firstly, let me state what each classification is all about.


MG (Middle Grade)

This is the classification for books aimed at kids aged 8–12/13. In bookshops you will rarely see a shelf labelled as MG, those books (especially in smaller bookshops) tend to linger on both the Children and YA shelves, which I suppose could be the reason that so many people don’t understand that there is a definite difference.

MG books, are usually about children under the age of 14, though sometimes the character may be older. The subject matter deals with a wide range of things, the more predominant of which is a rebellion against authority, where the MC usually someone around the same age as the reader is the character who either has all of the power or is openly struggling for power in his/her life. The themes in MG books are, however, dealt with in a manner that is suited for younger readers. Meaning that you may find violence in MG books but you will never find swear words or sexual content.


Which brings me to YA.


YA (Young Adult)

YA books are generally written for those over the age of 14. The characters in YA books are normally above the age of 14, usually around the age of 16/17. These books mainly revolve around a character who is coming into the world in a more adult way. They’re more often than not a coming of age sort of story, told during the transitional period between childhood and adulthood, being the teen years.

YA novels deal with themes such as sex, violence and drug use and can often be quite gritty in their portrayal of the MC’s life. The characters may also use swear words, because (as anyone who’s ever had a conversation with a teenager may have noticed) teenagers often do, especially around other teenagers.


The main difference between the two genres is that one is suitable for children and the other is not.

That’s not to say that YA books always contain adult themes, because they don’t always. I’m just stating a majority thing here.

So those of you who believe that YA and MG are the same thing I say this:

Just stop it.



Comments are closed.