Book Review · fiction

About Middle Grade & Percy Jackson

I finally got around to reading the Percy Jackson series. I haven’t finished it yet, but it moves pretty quickly so I imagine I’ll be done in a week or so. Percy Jackson is considered Middle Grade Fiction, at least in my opinion. Not quite Young Adult, not quite Children’s. It straddles the line. In Percy Jackson in particular, it relies on the reader having very little previous knowledge of Greek Mythology.

When it comes to age groups, there’s a lot of hate that gets tossed at YA, especially if you’re over 18 and still reading it. I obviously don’t have a problem with it since I read YA all the time. For me, it’s generally more interesting and the rules of writing are less restricted. The only thing that bothers me is the occasional dumbing down of language or explanations (you know, those three page long recaps at the beginning of each book in a series as though you haven’t read the previous books. Harry Potter finally stopped doing them around book 4 when it sort of crossed the line from Children’s books to something darker). Maybe editors would say that people need the reminder but I find them tedious and an excuse to skip ahead a few pages.

I’ve been reading Percy Jackson, a series that is based largely on Greek Mythology (and certainly a lot of it is not accurate to the actual myths), and aimed at younger kids, probably middle school age. The second book specifically, The Sea of Monsters, was a book that would have been entirely predictable if the reader had ever read The Odyssey (or watched the Wishbone episode). As an adult reading it, it was predictable, but for a kid, maybe not.

Middle Grade Fiction walks a fine line between dumbing things down too much and how far can they push the boundaries of a kid’s book? I prefer YA to MG, but I could never resist Greek Mythology, lucky for Rick Riordan. I’ll finish the series, but I probably won’t read much more Middle Grade. Maybe I’ll finish Game of Thrones–that’s a big jump but they share similarities.

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