Can you put a younger child as the main character for a YA book?

Question: I am writing a series of books intended for high-schoolers, but my main character is eleven. He is very mature and in the eighth grade, so I think it works. It deals with several no-no subjects (child abuse, bipolar disorder, and running away to name a few), so it can't be for children. I was just wondering if that would be plausible.


Answer: If you're writing this book as part of a series aimed specifically for teens, then I'm curious why you would choose a younger main character. While it's not impossible that some teens will appreciate the story, you risk disappointing anyone who buys the book expecting it will be like the others in the series.

I don't think it's accurate to say that you cannot deal with heavy topics in a middle-grade novel. As long as you are honest and authentic in writing from your main character's point of view, and in a style that is accessible to children of that age, you can deal with pretty much any topic that some children have to face in their lives (and that includes everything you mention).

However, I you might also consider finding a way for the reader to see this story from a teen-age perspective.

Of course, there have also been many books written for adults or new adults that feature children as main characters, but generally they take a more adult perspective on the story and the issues.

In other words, it's not the issues, but the perspective on the issues that determines what audience the story will likely appeal to.

Comments for Can you put a younger child as the main character for a YA book?

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Oct 12, 2013
I wrote this question
by: Anonymous

The whole series focuses on this one character.

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