Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ages of Books, Characters, and People

Hey! I'm back! :) Although it's funny, because whenever I see bloggers going on breaks and then they're like "Hey! I'm back!" and blah blah blah, I'm like... okay, yeah, whatever... I just read your posts when they come out anyway, no matter if they're a few days or weeks apart. But, whatever, that's  not the point of this post...

So, I don't if any of you know this, but I am a teen SPY at YA Confidential, which is an awesome YA group blog that focuses on all things TEEN in order to aid YA authors. They have a great panel of teens that they ask questions to on a regular basis (obviously... I mean, I'm on it... haha). Actually, if you're a teen you could sign up to be a teen analyst, just go to their home page and fill out the form on the sidebar. :)

Anyway, they do regular ask-the-teens posts where they invite their followers to ask the teens questions. One of the questions in the most recent post caught my eye:

Do you really care about the age of a character as long as the writing and story are good?

...and in trying to answer the question, I realized I actually had quite a lot to say on this particular topic.

So... one of the things is, books definitely can fit into different age groups, but I don't think this is all based on the age of the protagonist. You can't just assume that because the protagnist in a story is 12, the book is for 12 year olds.

In my head, I picture two categories of books. There are "fluffy" books - the feel-good books that are fun and bubbly and cute. An example that comes to mind is Forgive My Fins by Terra Lynn Childs (which is actually a really good book that you should read...) These books could have protagonists ranging from nine to seventeen, and younger/older. Yet I think of these fluffy books as being more appropriate and enjoyable for a younger audience. I know I read books like this in middle school even if the protagonist was 17, a good 5 years old than I was.

Then there's the "dark" or "edgy" books. These are the books that are really heavy, and are pretty much the opposite of the fun, bubbly, cute books I just described above. These books are much more serious and deep and deal with much greater issues than in the fluffy books. Yet again, these books could have protagnists ranging from twelve to eighteen years old, but I think of them of being more enjoyable for an older teen audience. Some examples I think of are books by John Green, The Perks of Being A Wallflower, and The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta.

So, the age of the book, as a whole, rather than the age of the character in the books determines the age of the audience.

BUT I still don't care what the "age" of the book is. I know I just said that I thought of "fluffy" books as being for a younger audience, but that doesn't mean I don't LIKE those kinds of books. I LOVE those kinds of books. I also like the edgy books sometimes too. It really depends on how I feel at a certain time what kind of book I want to read. I've talked about reading needs before, and I'm sure I'll talk about them again after this.

My numerical age (17 at the moment) does not determine what kinds of books I read - I, as a whole person with all my personality quirks, determine that... just like books as a whole determine the age of the audience the book is appropriate for.

So I guess the answer to the question is... no, I don't care about the age of the character at all! :)

Hope that made sense... haha.

Do YOU care about the age of a character as long as the writing and story are good?


  1. While I completely agree with you -- I always call BS on blogs that say "if your character is a certain age then it must be this genre" -- I would not classify anything John Green writes as "edgy." Looking for Alaska, *maybe,* but kind of not really. It's no more shocking than, say, Dead Poet Society or *insert classic coming-of-age-book here*. Guess I'm a little more hardened, lol...

  2. I don't neccessarly care what age the character is but... i kind of like to relate to the character a bit and age is sometime a factor.

  3. Ha, I just wrote a blog post today and actually titled it, "I'm BACK!" I never care if someone else hasn't blogged for a long time, but for some reason I always feel so guilty when it's me.

    I don't really care about ages in books, but romance for anyone under the age of 14 is weird to me (and by romance I mean kissing and stuff like that.)

  4. Hey Gracie!

    Good to have you back! Funny thing I was actually just talking to someone yesterday about how I hated that you were on vacation, because I missed your blog posts!

    I am with you on this one, the age definitley doesn't matter. One of my favourite series is based off of a girl in her final years of college, and I haven't even started it yet!

    I think that we would all get really sick and tired of reading if we were always reading stuff about people our same age.

  5. I love your answer, and I think it's spot on for me as well. I love the His Dark Materials series and I also read tons of literary fiction and other "adult stuff," and have been doing so for a very, very long time.

    I also wanted to let you know that I awarded you the Kreativ Blogger award on my site today :)

  6. I was so excited when Blogger created threaded comments... and for some reason they're not working for me!! Grr!

    Laura: I guess I wasn't thinking of John Green books so much as "edgy" so much as just not quite as fluffy. :)

    Nhim: Yes, definitely... sometimes the situations and issues that a character has to deal with at a certain age are hard to relate to... which I think would be the case for me with books with adult characters sometimes.

    Jeigh: Funny how that works, isn't it? We get ourselves all flustered when no one really cares but ourselves... haha.

    Emily: I'm glad you're glad I'm back! I agree that it's definitely nice to read books with a variety of ages of characters.

    Anna: Cool! Thanks. :)


Hey there! I really treasure every comment... whether it just be a hello or a deeper thought. I love hearing your thoughts! :)


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