Friday, September 2, 2011

College-Age Main Characters

Sorry about my complete lack of blogging on Monday and Wednesday. College has me a whole lot busier than I expected.

I have now been at college for over a week and it's giving me a whole new perspective on the debate about college-age main characters. I feel kind of lonely knowing that there aren't many main characters out there that are my age. I didn't enjoy the adult books I've read enough to want to read more, but I feel kind of out of place reading YA (not that I intend to stop any time soon).

Why do you think there aren't many college-age MCs? Is it because we're kept so busy that there isn't enough time for interesting things to happen (not true)? Is it because the differences between college campuses (in contrast to the fact that most high schools are relatively the same) make it a difficult task? Is it because there's a stigma attached to college kids that says we don't read (which my hall has repeatedly disproved)?

Does anyone have any recommendations of books with college-age main characters?


Francesca Zappia said...

I wish I had some recommendations. :( I'm in college now and I know exactly what you mean. I haven't been able to find any books like that at all. I guess for now I'm just stuck with YA. (Not that I mind, of course.) Part of me just wishes that college-age MCs were more represented in YA.

laurathewise said...

I, too, have this same complaint. It irritates the heck out of me when I hear people say that college MCs are too old for YA, or that college kids don't read. NOT TRUE. Maybe they don't read because there's nothing written for them. This could be a whole new market to explore!

As for recommendations, I would try The Abhorsen Trilogy, starting with the book Sabriel. Sabriel is 18; in the later books, the protags are 16 and 19. It's a fantasy/dark fantasy series, but definitely still YA despite the older MCs.

laurathewise said...

Also, I gave you a blog award, which you can see/pick up at this post:


LM Preston said...

Yep, this is a problem I had and have. But the industry just classifies that college age group as adult.

E.Maree said...

I think the stigma's more to do with the 'young adult' classification.

Age isn't too important a thing in my WIP, but in my head I imagine them as college age - somewhere between 20 - 22.

But I've seen quite a few agents state that if your character is 20 or more, you're writing an adult book... that's nonsense, but it's not a misconception I can afford in a query. I'll probably end up either changing the characters ages or just not mentioning it.

There is a new category called 'new adult' that focusses on college-age protagonists, but it's not well known and it's a long way off being a marketable, see-it-in-the-bookstore genre - I think St. Martin's press is the publisher that created it and the only pub recognising it as an official genre.

Laura W. said...

Has anyone heard of the Montmorency books? They're a series about a theif-turned-detective, and they're YA -- but Montmorency is in his 30's. That's right. *Thirties.* Just goes to show that the style, not the age of the main character, makes a book YA.