Remember when YA was it? When the word "buzz" pretty much only applied to YA, and usually to YA fantasy? When that seemed to be all that editors and therefore agents were interested in?
YA is doing fine. It has cross-overs. It has controversy. I love it dearly, and I weep for it not.
But I love middle-grade even more dearly, and I'm really excited about what seems to be a major middle-grade boom.
What I think makes this boom so huge is variety. There are two major trends, and those trends are pretty different from each other. Trend one: adventure, often but not always set in fantasy. Trend two: semi-graphica, often but not always humorous. Lots and lots of kids like both, but it's possible to completely spurn one and still have plenty of new reading material. And though the Big Daddies of both types of books have male main characters (I speak here of Greg Heffley and Percy Jackson - Harry Potter, at this point, is the Bad Granddad of the latter), these genres have their share of female characters, and they definitely have readers across the gender spectrum. I just had an affecting conversation in Spanglish in which I disappointed a tween girl with the news that The Lost Hero wouldn't be in paperback before her return to Spain.
Those aren't the only flavors of MG flying off the shelves, either. Don't forget the traditionally realistic Penderwicks or the sporty success stories by Tim Green or Mike Lupica.
It's a good time to be a middle-grade( write)r.