Q: What makes this a ‘young adult’ book, and what ages is it intended for? (Maybe I’m past the age range that should be reading it?)
A: ‘fess up, now - you weren’t too old to go to those Harry Potter movies, which kind of reminded you of Lord of the Rings (right?), which are also ‘children’s books’. (Tolkien wrote the ‘Ring’ books to entertain his own children.)
But you say you’ve drawn the line at Twilight and Percy Jackson and the Olympians? Good for you! See? You know your boundaries. You don’t need me (or anyone else) to tell you what they are.
Q: I just don’t want to be walking around with an age-inappropriate book that will have people snickering at me. That’s not going to happen, right?
A: Well, you carried those ‘Where’s Waldo?’ books around for years and that didn’t affect your graduation or ability to hold a job, so I’d say you’re in much less danger of embarrassment here…
Seriously, Patriots engages subject matter suitable for adults. It’s not a ‘children’s book’ or ‘young adult’ book in the sense that it doesn’t pander to a demographic (as so many of them do). But it does feature children in prominent roles, which is unusual as most adult fare goes. The book also strives for simple prose, which while good for children (who have had, after all, less reading experience than adults), was also Hemingway’s approach to his craft.
Patriots does cover themes young adults should be exposed to (there’s more to life than romantic vampires), and it does feature young protagonists. It also features some extremely OLD characters, but that does not make it a book exclusively for senior citizens, if you see what I mean.
There’s a lengthy exposition of what makes (or doesn’t make) something a ‘young adult’ book here.