Thoughtful Thursday: How Do You Rate Books That Are Not Intended For You?

Thoughtful Thursday

It is time for Thoughtful Thursday and the bookish questions that pop up while I am reading. Please share your thoughts on the bookish question of the week. I am curious to hear what you have to say! There are no wrong answers. Questions about Thoughtful Thursday or future Thoughtful Thursday posts? Check out my Thoughtful Thursday section. Alright, on to the question!

How do you rate books that are out of your age demographic (e.g., an adult rating YA or MG or a YA rating adult or MG)?

As an early 30-something year old, I have left the middle grade (MG) and young adult (YA) age brackets quite a few years ago; however, over the course of the last year, I have read quite a number of middle grade (MG) and young adult (YA) books. Recently, I have realized that I treat YA books like adult books and rate them according to my typical book preferences. For example, when I read The Hunger Games I expected a certain standard in writing, plotting, and characters. A 3 out of 5 for a YA book is going to be the same as a 3 out of 5 for an adult book for me. I do give some allowances in YA books. I don't expect romantic moments to be as explicit as they may be in an adult book or for there to be multiple plots/a very complicated plot, for example. I realize that it probably isn't fair to rate YA books against books for my age bracket, but, overall, I haven't found it to be too much of a problem.

Things get a bit tricky when I rate MG (and younger) books. I am more likely to give the book more allowances. For example, I am cool with using literary tropes more freely and with  mysteries being a bit more obvious. I do expect the book to be well written and "good," but I also understand that a 10-year old and a 30-year old have different expectations on plot complexity. Given these allowances, I find that it is easy for me to rate a MG book a 3 out of 5 ("good") fairly easily. When it comes to rating a MG book a 4 out of 5 ("very good") or a 5 out of 5 ("excellent)," things get tricky. Unless the book has overtones that make it a good read for an adult as well as the intended audience, I have a hard time giving a MG book a 4 or 5 out of 5 even though an adult is not the intended audience. Sometimes I am able to do this, but most of the time, I really struggle with it. 

These difficulties in rating MG and YA books have been on my mind more and more in the last few months. I am beginning to think that MG and YA books just aren't for me anymore. I am having trouble connecting with these characters, because I am not in the right place in my life. There are MG and YA books that I know that I will reread (e.g., Harry Potter); however, I am not sure if any new YA/MG series will capture my heart like Harry Potter, because I am not at the right place for it in my life anymore.

Now it is your turn! How do you rate books that are out of your age demographic (e.g., an adult rating YA or MG or a YA rating adult or MG)?

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