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What’s the diff? MG versus YA . . . a guest post by author Shannon Duffy

How is Middle Grade fiction different than YA fiction?
The simple answer to this question is that in middle grade, the protagonists are usually between ages 9-13 or 14. With young adult, the protagonists are in their mid to late teens. You tend to see a lot of them at about 16 or 17.

TLT has 2 tween reviewers, here is a Top 10 from 2012
Inward vs. Outward focus. Middle graders are usually more internally focused. For them it’s more about themselves, trying to make it through the middle grade years, fitting in while also figuring out who they are. A lot of their world is about their friends and families. YA characters are focused more externally. They are seeing the world in a broader sense and are dealing with, or at least thinking about, drinking, sex, getting their driver’s license, and hey, where are they going to go for college—where do they fit in in the broader scope of the world.

Then there’s the whole romance stuff of course. Yes, there can be romance in MG…but it’s flirtier if anything and these kids are only starting to figure out about liking someone else like that. I personally don’t have romance in my MG, but it can be done, albeit on a much more innocent level than YA. With YA, romance can come into play a lot more—stronger feelings, more romantic and sexual actions—although it’s not mandatory.

Then, of course language plays a part, and in particular swearing. MG books need to be toned down and while reflecting real language and slang of these kids, graphically swearing MG kids doesn’t fit the voice of MG. In YA, swearing is more acceptable. Not only are the characters older, but your readers are too. Not that you have to write your characters swearing either. It depends on your character and what fits their voice. But it’s more acceptable to be seen in YA.

Middle grade books are important because for many kids, this is the time they develop their true love of reading. That’s what happened to me. I loved getting my hands on lots of books as a middle grader. I felt like it took me on adventures, and at times, I felt completely sucked into the story. Not only does reading help middle graders have a better vocabulary and grammar, but hey, most importantly, it’s FUN to read!

Thanks for inviting me to your blog!


Gabriel Stone and the Divinity of Valta is a magical, fast-paced story that takes readers on a journey they won’t soon forget. It has enough mystery, intrigue and wonder to keep readers up, lamp lit, and reading into the night.

Month9Books, a new publisher of speculative fiction for teens and tweens, announces the release of GABRIEL STONE AND THE DIVINITY OF VALTA, a middle grade title from Canadian author, Shannon Duffy, on February 5, 2013, whose first title, a young adult paranormal romance, SPECTRAL, was published in April 2012 from Tribute Books.

Gabriel Stone is a twelve-year-old boy still reeling from the unsolved disappearance of his mother. With a dad who’s hard to relate to, and mounting pressures at school, Gabriel lets off steam by hiking in the place where his mother was last seen. There, Gabe and friends find a crystal that proves not only beautiful, but magical beyond their wildest dreams. Only, magic and beauty come with a price: in order to return home, they must save the dying world of Valta.

GABRIEL STONE AND THE DIVINITY OF VALTA is perfect for the classroom. Reading and Teacher Guides are available. Contact Caroline Patty at: educationm9b@gmail.com to request guides. GABRIEL STONE AND THE DIVINITY OF VALTA also makes a great gift for readers ages 9 and up who enjoy fantasy stories like THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA and THE BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA.


Shannon Duffy grew up on the beautiful east coast of Canada, and now lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and son, Gabriel. She’s mom to one boy, and several pets. Shannon loves writing, reading, working out, soccer, and the sport of champions-shopping. Shannon Duffy is available for quotes, signings, video or podcast appearances, and all opportunities relative to GABRIEL STONE AND THE DIVINITY OF VALTA. 
GABRIEL STONE AND THE WRATH OF THE SOLARIAN, Book 2 in the Gabriel Stone series will be available from Month9Books in February 2014!


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Month 9 Books is a publisher of speculative fiction for teens and tweens… where nothing is as it seems. Month9Books will donate proceeds from each of its annual charity anthologies to a deserving charity. Individually, authors may donate his or her advances and royalties to a charitable organization. Month9Books will also release 10-12 non-charitable titles annually. GABRIEL STONE AND THE DIVINITY OF VALTA is Month9Books’s first Middle Grade release. Month9Books is distributed by Small Press United, a division of IPG. You may visit www.month9books.com for more information.