“Age Group” Genres

I know this is a subject that can be (and has been) debated a lot, but it’s never been something I thought a ton about. Now that I have this blog and am writing reviews, my big question about “age group” genres (young adult, middle grade, etc.) is what falls into each category?

When I was writing my review for Every Soul a Star, I thought about the genre a lot. The three main characters are young teenagers, all thirteen if I remember correctly, so I had to wonder: middle grade or young adult? Are the characters representing children or teens, and is that the only deciding factor?

If you haven’t read the review (or just didn’t pay attention to the ‘genres’ section), and you were wondering, I did finally decide to include it as both children’s and young adult. Because to me, these characters are children and so would fit into a children’s/middle grade genre. When I see a book categorized as middle grade, I automatically think of characters in middle school.

I’m not sure if this is correct. I’m not sure there even is a correct answer, which is why I labeled it as both.

For those of you who write reviews, what do you do about these “age group” genres? How do you determine which to place a book into?

And for anyone at all: What do you think? How old should the characters in the young adult genre be, or is it not about age at all? Is it all about their situations? The plot?

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