Author Topic: adult books with young MC's  (Read 8817 times)

Offline 007 fan

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1761
  • Karma: 748
  • Eye right store ease.
adult books with young MC's
« on: April 08, 2016, 01:04:15 AM »
What are the magic words I can type into my internet search box to find a listing of adult books with young main characters? I've tried every combination of 'adult books with young main characters' I can think of and all google shows me are YA books.

I'm seeking a listing of more recently published books like that. I have found one book, Life of Pi, but that was from like 2000. I know there are others, and ones that are more recent.

Any suggestions on where/how to find more?



« Last Edit: April 08, 2016, 02:49:13 AM by 007 fan »
:write:                                                                          :cbash:

Offline Tabris

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5023
  • Karma: 1002
  • I rock!
Re: adult books with young MC's
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2016, 06:14:55 AM »
When I was looking for them, I just asked a really large reader group and they came up with about 50 for me.

The Book Thief comes to mind as a more recent one. You have Ender's Game.

Here's the list I used a million years ago when trying to convince an editor that adult fiction could have a child protagonist. In the end, he still didn't believe me:

> Harry Potter: definitely written for YA at first, but by the end 
> mostly written for adults.
> Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card: child protagonist (Ender is what, 
> seven?), definitely not for kids
> Seventh Son by orson Scott Card: Again, child protag is about 7
> Archer's Goon by Diana Wynne Jones
> Tales of the Chrestomanci by Diana Wynne Jones
> The Arrows series by Mercedes Lacky
> Pegasus in Flight and the Harper Hall books by Anne McCaffrey
> The Belgariad series by David Eddings
> The Earthsea series by Ursula K. LeGuin shows some of its 
> protagonists as children
> George R.R. Martins Song of Fire and Ice series
> Flowers in the Attic By VC Andrews isn't at all for kids but is 
> about four children, told from the POV of one of them
> Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy
> Stephen King's "Firestarter"
> Any number of books in Piers Anthony's Xanth series
> The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
> Good Omens by Neil Gaiman/Terry Pratchett
> The Bridei Chronicles by Juliet Marillier. (That one started out 
> with the protagonists as children, though it did follow them 
> through to adulthood. Also her Sevenwaters trilogy)
> Hart's Hope by Orson Scott Card
> Farenheit 451 (Clarissa is a young teen when the story starts)
> Jack Vance's Lyonesse series
> Marion Zimmer Bradley's "Star of Danger"
> The Diamond Age by Neil Stephenson
> Assasin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
> Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe
> Nancy Kress, Beggars In Spain

Offline Sarah Ahiers (Falen)

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7878
  • Karma: 794
  • This, too, shall pass
    • Sarah Ahiers
Re: adult books with young MC's
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2016, 08:36:22 AM »
Actually ENDER'S GAME has been shelved in YA and MG for maybe the last decade or so. They even rereleased it with a kidlit cover.

HIS DARK MATERIALS is also shelved in the kidlit sections

And I would argue that Harry Potter starts out as MG and ends as YA.

A few that come to mind for me:

THE LOVELY BONES - Sebold
THE SHINNING - King
THE ROAD - McCarthy
WARCHILD - Lowachee
THE WAY OF SHADOWS - Weeks
A crap ton of the Pern books by Anne McCaffrey
THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE - Gaiman
INTO THE FOREST - Heglund (one of my all time favorite books)
TOTAL OBLIVION, MORE OR LESS - DeNiro
THE STOLEN CHILD - Donohue
JURRASSIC PARK - Crichton
THE LOST WORLD - Crichton
DOOR TO DECEMBER - Koontz

Some of these are less MC and more main POV characters.
I'm going to brainstorm some more. I know I'm missing some more obvious ones especially in the more litfic genre.
Also, a lot of these are not very current, but I've mostly been reading kidlit for the last decade or so
Repped by Mollie Glick of CAA
ASSASSIN'S HEART 2016 HarperTeen
I hang out at Sarah Ahiers Writes
Author Website

Offline Tabris

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5023
  • Karma: 1002
  • I rock!
Re: adult books with young MC's
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2016, 10:37:06 AM »
Actually ENDER'S GAME has been shelved in YA and MG for maybe the last decade or so. They even rereleased it with a kidlit cover.

That says a lot more about the publishing mindset than it does about the book. I've also seen the Dragonriders of Pern books released with kidlit covers, and I find that baffling.

Offline BessKingsley

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: 8
Re: adult books with young MC's
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2016, 10:56:42 AM »
Have you tried "adult novel with child protagonist"?

Here are a few off the top of my head:
Off the top of my head:

Exley by Clarke (a totally underrated book imo; I loved it)
The Kite Runner by Hosseini
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Foer
The Goldfinch by Tartt
Secret Life of Bees by Kidd
Room by Donoghue
Rule of the Bone by Banks (it's from '95 and I didn't enjoy it, but it was well written)

Hope that helps!
Repped by Sharon Pelletier of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret

Offline Missus Braidyhead

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1093
  • Karma: 113
Re: adult books with young MC's
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2016, 12:59:16 PM »
More examples (I don't think I saw them in the other comments):

The Flavia de Luce mystery series by Alan Bradley
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
at least one of the main POVs in Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley is a teenager

Offline 007 fan

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1761
  • Karma: 748
  • Eye right store ease.
Re: adult books with young MC's
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2016, 04:25:01 PM »
Wow. Thanks for all the titles!  :clap:  I once knew some of them but forgot. I don't know what's wrong with me lately. Well, working the same first novel for as long as I have been because I committed every known crime in writing :naughty: and I wanted to fix EVERYTHING has done something to my brain, but I'm nearing the end. :sick1:

Karma to everyone who posted. I just needed to hear/see that it was possible for me to possibly find an agent AND publisher who would consider 'adult' for me. And there are so many books listed here, I'm gonna relax a little.
 

Here's the list I used a million years ago when trying to convince an editor that adult fiction could have a child protagonist. In the end, he still didn't believe me:

I remember a posting you did to a thread of mine when I first joined QT and you shared a conversation you had with someone over this issue. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried. My protag is 11 at the start and 13 at the end, but those ages are different in the Stone Age. Plus, I have coming of age elements: kissing earlier on, sex later. That aside, the narrator is an adult, me. Hmm.

Most who've read anything of my story, more than 1st chapter, say adult in content and in writing but a couple people have said that YA could be possible if I got my count down, which I thought would be impossible until recently.

I'm shooting for adult, adult narrator and I do focus a decent amount of time on adult characters, but I wouldn't die a slow, painful death with YA as long as no one suggests I adjust my writing or asked me to tone down my violent scenes that are graphic but short and non-gratuitous. 


Have you tried "adult novel with child protagonist"?

Um, no, didn't even think of that, :bonk: but I just checked and the very first thing listed is a listing of 96 books! There are other links too for just what I was looking for. Good grief!



Thanks again, everyone!  :)
« Last Edit: April 08, 2016, 05:57:58 PM by 007 fan »
:write:                                                                          :cbash:

Offline Sarah Ahiers (Falen)

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7878
  • Karma: 794
  • This, too, shall pass
    • Sarah Ahiers
Re: adult books with young MC's
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2016, 07:41:42 AM »
Here's the list I used a million years ago when trying to convince an editor that adult fiction could have a child protagonist. In the end, he still didn't believe me:

I remember a posting you did to a thread of mine when I first joined QT and you shared a conversation you had with someone over this issue. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried. My protag is 11 at the start and 13 at the end, but those ages are different in the Stone Age.

That reminds me of another book: CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR
Repped by Mollie Glick of CAA
ASSASSIN'S HEART 2016 HarperTeen
I hang out at Sarah Ahiers Writes
Author Website

Offline DownNineUpTen

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 165
  • Karma: 22
Re: adult books with young MC's
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2016, 08:18:23 AM »
...adult books with young main characters?

I'm reading one now: Black Swan Green by David Mitchell. It's a coming of age novel, not marketed as YA. Takes place in 1982, in England. The protagonist is 13 years old, "the black hole between childhood and adolescence".

Offline 007 fan

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1761
  • Karma: 748
  • Eye right store ease.
Re: adult books with young MC's
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2016, 04:15:29 PM »
Here's the list I used a million years ago when trying to convince an editor that adult fiction could have a child protagonist. In the end, he still didn't believe me:

I remember a posting you did to a thread of mine when I first joined QT and you shared a conversation you had with someone over this issue. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried. My protag is 11 at the start and 13 at the end, but those ages are different in the Stone Age.

That reminds me of another book: CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR

Was it the 'million years' that reminded you? ; )

I've read that book. Loved it. And what's timely for me about the mention of it here is that a reader who just finished reading my MS said MG was out of the question for my story because of the violence, 1 sex scene (not a rape), and my advanced writing but said YA could be doable. Then that person said CotCB wouldn't get published today because of the MC's age vs. what she experiences. Scary.

I'm still holding out hope for an adult designation because I use omni POV, an adult narrator.

...adult books with young main characters?

I'm reading one now: Black Swan Green by David Mitchell. It's a coming of age novel, not marketed as YA. Takes place in 1982, in England. The protagonist is 13 years old, "the black hole between childhood and adolescence".

Thanks!
:write:                                                                          :cbash:

Offline Tabris

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5023
  • Karma: 1002
  • I rock!
Re: adult books with young MC's
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2016, 04:33:41 PM »

I'm still holding out hope for an adult designation because I use omni POV, an adult narrator.


It's totally possible. You just need an agent who isn't totally hidebound by the whole category thing and understands adult books can be narrated by children.

Munley

  • Guest
Re: adult books with young MC's
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2016, 07:51:18 PM »
Here is a 2016 article from a writer whose adult book got pigeonholed as a YA book, even though the publisher was pretty decent about not asking the author for a lot of changes to make it more of a teen book:

http://lithub.com/the-time-my-grown-up-novel-was-marketed-as-young-adult/


Offline 007 fan

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1761
  • Karma: 748
  • Eye right store ease.
Re: adult books with young MC's
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2016, 08:22:33 PM »

I'm still holding out hope for an adult designation because I use omni POV, an adult narrator.


It's totally possible. You just need an agent who isn't totally hidebound by the whole category thing and understands adult books can be narrated by children.

Yes. The examples provided helped make me feel a little better about it, though I won't bet my life that it'll happen for my story. ; )

Here is a 2016 article from a writer whose adult book got pigeonholed as a YA book, even though the publisher was pretty decent about not asking the author for a lot of changes to make it more of a teen book:

http://lithub.com/the-time-my-grown-up-novel-was-marketed-as-young-adult/

I'm bracing myself for the possibility. A while ago, I thought it impossible to get my count down to a YA number in the event that's what would be suggested by an agent and/or publisher, but since I'm now positive I can get down to between 90k and 95k w/o damaging my story, well, it'll feel less end of the worldy if it happens.   

At 105k now, but I still have a little repetition left to remove, scenes that can be shortened to improve pacing in first half of novel, and a general tightening what I have once the other work is done pass, the first such pass having cut most of the 106k I've cut so far. 
:write:                                                                          :cbash:

Munley

  • Guest
Re: adult books with young MC's
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2016, 01:57:31 PM »
Here's an idea that might help with writing a query for an adult book with a young MC.

Go to bn.com (Barnes & Noble online) or some other sales sight.

Search for the titles noted in this thread.

Click on the Publisher's description.

Offline 007 fan

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1761
  • Karma: 748
  • Eye right store ease.
Re: adult books with young MC's
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2016, 04:01:43 PM »
Here's an idea that might help with writing a query for an adult book with a young MC.

Go to bn.com (Barnes & Noble online) or some other sales sight.

Search for the titles noted in this thread.

Click on the Publisher's description.

Although that's great a suggestion, thank you for sharing, I don't plan to have the debate in my query, meaning I don't plan to reveal my MC's age in the query or use any titles from this thread as comps to show an agent that young characters can star in an adult book. They know it can happen. This thread was to just soothe a period of angst I was going through, and seeing so many books helped.

Someone here once suggested that I avoid the possible debate at the reading the query stage, to get the agent to my pages, so that's what I'm going to do.
:write:                                                                          :cbash: