If you have young readers in your home, you may have encountered terms like mid-grade, juvenile, young adult, or new adult to classify books, but what do they mean?

The classifications are intended to help guide readers (and their parents) to age-appropriate books. None of the designations are carved in stone, but here are some guidelines that might help:

Juvenile Books

This broad category includes fiction and non-fiction books for readers ages seven to eighteen. The general length of books varies by age.

  • Ages seven to nine: 2,000-10,000 words
  • Ages nine to twelve: 20,000-60,000 words
  • Ages thirteen to eighteen: 40,000 to 80,000 words

Middle-Grade or Mid-grade

Right in the middle of juvenile books is the mid-grade category. The main character in most mid-grade fiction is eight to thirteen years old and going through experiences that are relatable to children of that age. Night Buddies Adventures are a perfect example of books written for about nine to twelve year olds. Mid-grade books are generally not overtly sexual or violent but can deal with complex issues.

Young Adult or YA

Young adult books focus on issues relevant to teens. They can be as long as adult fiction.

New Adult

The new adult category was created in 2009 to designate books that fall somewhere between YA and general adult, or what is called trade fiction. New adult books are for readers eighteen to twenty-five who are transitioning into adulthood. Issues like leaving home and discovering where you fit in the world are common themes.