Adult Coming of Age Novel

by Betty K

Question: I have been debating the genre breakdown of my historical fiction novel and have come to the conclusion that it may fall into the category of an Adult Coming of Age book.

It actually has two protagonists: the father and his step daughter who is really his actual daughter but she doesn't know that at the beginning. She learns it later in the process of growing up.

The book starts out in his point of view and later goes into her point of view as many things happen to her that cause her to "grow up" quite rapidly. Sometimes it switches back to him. Do you think it may qualify as an Adult Coming of Age?

It is the second novel in a Family Saga series, but this one is mostly about the girl's romance. She is 15 at the beginning of the book and it ends 12 years later.

I hope some of this make sense?

Response Hi Betty,

Could it be an Adult Coming of Age novel? Sure it could. Though it is a little difficult to say since your brief description tells very little about the actual plot. (Of course, I get that the story is probably more character-driven than plot-driven, but still...)

One thing I wonder about is why you begin in the father's point of view. It would be more typical to write a coming of age story in the girl's point of view, establishing in the beginning how she is at odds with or in ignorance of the adult world.

Readers tend to latch onto a character. So once the father is established as the main character, it might be a little disconcerting if he is dropped in favour of the daughter - unless, of course, you have a really good reason and don't mind the distance that creates.

What I wonder is whether the reader who could relate to the 15-year-old girl and her story would be the same reader who would get into the father's story. If not, then you might loose potential young adult readers if you make the beginning all about the father. Similarly, would readers who relate to the father's point of view be disappointed when he turns out to be a minor character?

As always, I'm just speculating here. Obviously I haven't read your manuscript or fully heard the thinking behind it.

You might consider joining a writers' group where you can show the manuscript to some fellow writers and solicit feedback from them, since they may have the time to read it thoroughly and therefore give you a more fair assessment.

Best of luck.

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