Whoo hoo! Cynthia Leitich Smith on her Cynsations Blog today listed SHIFTY as one of her choices for Cynsational Books of 2008. She included it in her middle grade category. SHIFTY was nominated for The Cybils in both the middle grade and YA categories and the Cybils folks decided it was most appropriate for their YA nominations. This brings up an interesting question. Is SHIFTY middle grade or YA? Does it matter how it is categorized? Where should SHIFTY be shelved in bookstores and libraries?
The main character, Soli a.k.a Shifty, is 15 (and a half) years old. His seven-year-old foster sister, Sissy, plays both an antagonist and ally role in the story. The book flap states SHIFTY is for ages 12 and up, so I guess that covers both the traditional 8 to 12 years range of middle grade and the 12 to 18 years of YA.
What do I think? I'm only the author, but I'd say SHIFTY is older middle grade and/or younger YA, and of course I'd like everyone to read SHIFTY--adults, too.
Some of my favorite books include characters of varying age ranges and have crossover appeal for teens and adult readers. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, THE BOOK THIEF, and THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT have characters (and readers) of varying ages, just like families and real life.
When I was writing SHIFTY, was I thinking, "This is a middle grade novel. Or, is this a story for teens or adults?" No, I was just trying to capture the characters and their story on the page.
Imaginary Readers, would you consider SHIFTY middle grade or YA? Does it matter? What other good books (with various aged characters) can you recommend that might be enjoyed by middle grades, young adults, and crossover to adult readers as well?
Please comment and suggest good titles for us to read and reread in 2009.
Forecast: Good book recommendations. Thanks!