Saturday, 7 March 2009

YA or not YA? That is the question.

I’ve just finished reading a great novel, which was not only a good read, but also made me feel a lot better about my chances of getting my own novel published as Young Adult. The book was ‘Tamar’ by Mal Peet. It came into the school library last week as one of the WA Young Readers Book Award nominations and I brought it home as soon as it was catalogued because it looked so good.

The novel is set mainly in The Netherlands during World War II and tells the story of two Resistance Fighters – both adults. But interspersed with that story is the story of Tamar, a fifteen year old girl who has been given a box of ‘clues’ by her grandfather on his death. The search for the meaning of these clues takes her on a journey down the Tamar River to a discovery she could never have imagined.

I’m not sure why the book has only just been nominated for the award, having been published in 2006, but it’s definitely a great book. It’s strange that it’s classified YA though, in that the main character (at least the one who appears most in the story) isn’t young . I’m guessing it’s the fact that the title character is young that got it that classification. There are no really adult themes, but as you’d guess with the subject of the novel, there are some fairly gruesome scenes. So I’d say it’s for the older readers of YA.

It gives me hope though, for my novel with an adult main character that everyone keeps telling me is a YA novel. I’ll have to keep this book in mind when I’m writing my query. If you can think of any others, please let me know.

This is a mock-up of a front cover for my novel that I did when I put a few chapters up on You Write On - dreaming again!


Brenda said...

Tamar sounds very interesting and I love your mock-up of your would catch my eye...hugs...

Luc2 said...

Sounds like an interesting story. But the Tamar River isn't in the Netherlands, I think?

Don't fret too much about Treespeaker's classification. Good writing is what matters. If you can't sell it as YA, you can always try to sell it as Adult (or the other way around).

Kate said...

Thanks, Brenda.

Luc - sorry, I didn't make that very clear. The girl's part of the story happens in England.