Rated PG-13–An Author’s Note about Matt Archer: Legend
Greetings Monsters! I trust everyone had a fantastic weekend! I spent mine preparing a rough final cut of Matt Archer: Legend (MA#3) for the book bloggers graciously reviewing the book for the Legend blog tour. The book itself will release around June 15th (barring any technical difficulties), and the tour starts July 1. More information to come!
Okay. All that being said, I’d like to switch gears to a more serious topic. As a parent of two voracious readers, I tend to err on the conservative side when it comes to books. For myself, I’m willing to keep an open mind and read pretty broadly. For my kids, I’m a little more strict. Granted, I’m a lot less strict than I could be (my son read MA1 at age 10), but I know my kids and try hard to ensure that what they’re reading is both entertaining and age appropriate…according to my knowledge of my own children. I also know that this scale varies for every child and for every parent.
That’s why I want to be open and honest about the Matt Archer series. While Monster Hunter (MA#1) was appropriate for readers aged 11-12, Blade’s Edge (MA#2) was darker and not something I feel is appropriate for most 11 year olds. It’s really for readers 12 and up.
Which brings me to Legend (MA#3) As the story progresses, and Matt ages, the themes grow darker. In my opinion, Legend should be rated PG-13. Matt turns seventeen during the book; he’s not a young teen anymore. He’s very nearly a man, and someone who’s seen and done things most adults will never face. His problems are bigger: love/relationships, the burden of being “chosen,” guilt, stress. The language is (a bit) rougher, and the topics are more mature. It’s not ever going to be as strong as adult fiction–it’s still focused on a teen and his world–but it’s truly Young Adult fiction. MA4 and MA5 promise to be about the same (they’ll get a little darker, but I think I’ve approached the event horizon on this series with Legend).
“So why tell us this?” you ask. “Aren’t you worried about losing sales by limiting your audience?”
In a word? No.
I write where the story takes me, but that doesn’t mean I want to shock and awe just because I can. I want to stay true to my characters’ lives, but I also feel a responsibility to my readers. To me, this means being honest and giving readers fair warning that the last three books will be more mature than the first two. I can’t control where Amazon shelves my books. I’ve gotten them to put Matt in some teen categories, but Monster Hunter and Blade’s Edge are still hanging out on a few children’s shelves, too, despite my requests to have them removed. Until that happens, I feel like I need to be clear about what my readers are getting…and that is Young Adult fiction, not children’s or Middle Grade. Matt Archer was always intended to be for YA audiences.
So…thoughts? Will knowing this up front preclude you from reading the book, or are you still willing to give it a try? Also–if you have any questions about the content (especially if you are a parent with a teen reader), feel free to give me a shout via the contact page. I’m always happy to discuss things.
Thanks for reading!