Inheritance: A Review of Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor, by Xiran Jay Zhao

            Aside from genre, fiction can be separated into categories based on the age group of the target audience. YA, or young adult, is one of the most well-known, as that classification encompasses some of the most popular books and series within the last few decades.  The Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, The Hunger Games, and more cemented themselves into the public consciousness, attracting readers well outside of their target.  Less well known is the classification of stories aimed at slightly younger readers, such as preteens, known as middle grade fiction.  Middle grade stories tend to have a different writing style than their YA cousins, although the plots may share commonalities.  However, while they definitely aim for a younger audience than YA fiction or books meant for adults, middle grade fiction does not underestimate its readers.  Rather, the best middle grade writers understand that children are far more intelligent and emotionally aware than adults would assume.

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Rage: A Review of Iron Widow, by Xiran Jay Zhao

Revolution has always been a major theme across literature, and nearly every young adult novel features the concept in some way.  Stories are full of characters challenging the status quo and pushing back against injustice.  However, there is usually a limit, a disconnect, which separates the injustices on the page from the injustices in the real world.  Mainstream readers can enjoy a series such as The Hunger Games without connecting the dots between the world in the novels to the real world.  Whenever a book comes along that does challenge its readers to think critically about our own reality and history, there can be hesitancy.  Publishers do not think it would sell well, publicists worry about potential backlash, and more.  Yet, there is an audience for literature such as that, literature that combines entertainment with real revolution, and that audience is getting larger and more vocal every year, hungry for more.

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