Thursday, June 6, 2013

Differentiating Tween and YA Books

I've been away for a while and will be light on blogging this summer due to schoolwork and my internship at my local library.  I sent out a message on twitter asking if anyone might have ideas on how to differentiate "tween" and "YA" fiction.  Are there certain things that you look for? Is there anything that lets you know right away?  Also why do you think this distinction has become harder to manage, what's making it a gray area?

If anyone has any ideas to share, please leave comments below!  I figured I'd write up a quick post so that anyone on twitter could leave a comment if desired instead of trying to fit it into a 117 character box!



  1. I always think of tween books as those that would appeal to a middle grader. YA as those that would appeal to 8th graders and up. But, sure there are crossover books between the two groups creating the gray area, I think.
    What lets me know right away what is MG or YA are the issues a book tackles or they way the same issue is handled in the book.
    It's hard to really have a clear cut definition of these but this works for me most of the time.

    1. Thanks Alex!! That definitely makes sense. I'm working on a small research assignment as part of my internship at our public library and I've been asked to think about this distinction. As I've walked through the stacks during the past few weeks, sometimes I'm puzzled at why certain books have made their way into the children's section instead of just the Teen/YA section. But it's definitely a gray area. Thanks again for your thoughts!

  2. Hi! I didn't see this when you originally posted.

    I think the age of the protagonist plays a huge role in library classifications. Sometimes too big a role-- I've definitely seen books in the children's section that weren't thematically appropriate for children, but were ABOUT a child.

    In general, the protagonist's age also plays into the readership. Tweens will read about either a tween (middle grader) or a teen, but the teens don't usually read about kids who are younger than themselves.

  3. Dear Jess,
    I'm sorry for commenting here but I can't find any other way to contact you so I thought I'd leave this comment. I've been following your blog for a while as a "lurker" but recently I found a cute children's book that took me back to my own childhood and I wondered if it would be something you and your readers would enjoy as well.
    Please let me know if you're interested and I'll send you some more info.
    Keep up the good work.