Quote Originally Posted by ErinGlover View Post
I read a thread from Katiemac in 2009 with an excellent description of the characteristics of YA. My problem is I still don't know where my novel fits: YA or LitFic. The protagonist is 15, the antagonist is her mother. The themes involve incest, domestic violence, and suicide. The POV is 3d person, adult, in the protagonist's mind. The central issue is will Kali (the protagonist) keep her secrets buried where her shame is destroying her, or will she finally talk and escape her mother's toxic influence? Kali has PTSD. There is a lot of discussion and acting out around the mother/daughter relationship, the symptoms of an abused teen (promiscuity; setting fires; running away), and there is a love scene with Kali's boyfriend. I've read a number of books lately like The Mare and The Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao that had teen protagonists but were not YA. Is it all about voice? Help, I'm so confused. I can show you a couple of lines if you like.
Hi ErinGlover. I've also wondered how exactly to distinguish between YA and adult, and some if it gets confusing, but I think the main thing is whether the writing will appeal to teens and the larger YA audience more, or to those who read adult fiction more.

Figuring it out can get tricky because while YA pretty much always has teen protagonists, adult fiction can have them. If it's an adult looking back at teen years, it's probably adult, but if it's a teen narrator, it can still be either.

Yeah, voice is big. And whether it's teen issues or more adult issues is also important. Your stated themes (incest, domestic violence and suicide) can be either adult or YA. Your central issue sounds YA, especially trying to escape her mom's toxic influence. The acting out and the mental health issues sound like what YA readers are often interested in.

From your description here, I'd say it sounds YA.

Good luck!