BRN #6: Genres, Subgenres, and Little Baby Llamas

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Differentiating genres is irritatingly difficult sometimes. I rather think most people don’t care but I like boxing and labeling things nice and tidy so yeah, sometimes I care haha. Anyway, I decided to share how I personally breakdown and define different “umbrella” genres using my own words and opinions, because why not? Keep in mind that this is a tangled messy web because books/movies/television/life can fall within multiple genres but they all tend to have one overarching genre.


  • Has not happened, is not happening, does not exist in our world thus far and potentially not ever.
  • Age-based Genres:

    • CHILDREN’S = Baby books to early Elementary school age readers.
      • e.g. Amelia Bedelia stories, Are You My Mother? (P.D. Eastman), The Berenstain Bears, Harry Potter


    • YOUNG READERS = [Includes MIDDLE GRADE] Readers and main characters are of mid to late Elementary school ages through early teens and the stories speak to that age specific audience.
      • e.g. Redwall (Brian Jacques), The Secret Garden (Frances H. Burnett), Gregor the Overlander (Suzanne Collins), The BFG (Roald Dahl), My Side of the Mountain (Jean C. George), Harry Potter


    • TEEN = Main characters are ages 13-18 and the stories speak and relate particularly to a teenaged audience about teenage issues.
      • e.g. Paper Towns (John Green), Finding Alaska (John Green), Story Time (Edward Bloor), Nice Girls Endure (Chris Struyk-Bonn), Princess Diaries (Meg Cabot), Beastly (Alex Flinn), The Rest of Us Just Live Here (Patrick Ness)
      • This is also generally the age when people read less or stop altogether except to skim Sparknotes and Wikipedia for book summaries before entering class


    • YOUNG ADULT = Readers generally range from ages 13 through even the early 30s and beyond if you’re cool enough but the main characters range from ages 14-19; the stories contain young protagonists facing adult obstacles and these books end with hope; These stories often transcend basic age groups.
      • e.g. Six of Crows (Leigh Bardugo), Red Rising (Pierce Brown), The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins), Star Wars, Harry Potter…


    • NEW ADULT = Readers are ages 18+, the characters are ages 18-30, and the content is targeted to that stage of life (college, life after high school or college, entering the real world, life in one’s twenties…basically the character has become an adult and this is the ‘now what’ stage of their life). If some of these books were made into movies then this is when PG-13 books (Teen and Young Adult books) might start becoming rated R. (Oddly enough this is an age-static category just like “Middle Grade” or “Teen” and unlike “Young Adult Fiction” which manages to transcend readers’ ages stretching across Middle Grade through Adult)
      • e.g. Fan Girl (Rainbow Rowell), A Court of Thorns and Roses (Sarah J. Maas), The Queen of the Tearling (Erika Johansen)

book book pages college education

    • ADULT = Readers and main characters are ages 18+ [this includes GENERAL FICTION which tend to be classics that can be read by a wide span of ages or are often used in the classroom]
      • e.g. Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern), Stephen King, Clive Cussler, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (Susanna Clarke), Harry Potter series, The Queen of the Tearling (Erika Johansen)

jonathan strange

  • Story-based Genres:

    • FANTASY = Takes place in another world (e.g. Hogwarts, Narnia, Middle Earth, Camelot); contains any of the following: dragons, wizards, witches, magic, prophecies, quests, non-existent creatures, dwarves, elves, myths (i.e. gods & goddesses, etc.), and/or the like.
      • e.g. Eragon (Christopher Paolini), Lichgates (S.M. Boyce), Shadow & Bone (Leigh Bardugo), Seraphina (Rachel Hartman), Trial by Fire (Josephine Angelini), Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien), Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis), Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling): because of places like Diagon Alley and Hogwarts

magic book fantasy

    • PARANORMAL = Takes place in our world (Earth) but also includes non-existent elements: vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosts, spirits, poltergeists, witches, born superheroes (e.g. Superman), etcetera.
      •  e.g. Twilight (Stephenie Meyer), Shiver (Maggie Stiefvater), Vampire Diaries television show, The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern), Shatter Me (Tahereh Mafi), I Am Number Four (Pittacus Lore), City of Bones (Cassandra Clare), Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling): because the wizarding world exists within/as a part of the muggle world

paranormal book

    • SCI-FI = Takes place in our world (Earth) or possible new worlds (e.g. Mars, foreign galaxies) and also contains any of these elements: space travel, created superheroes (e.g. The Flash), the future, science, time travel, man-made catastrophes, man-made monsters/creatures, man-made worlds, man-made and science-based things basically.
      •  e.g. The Vault of Dreamers (Caragh O’Brien), The Knife of Never Letting Go (Patrick Ness), Maze Runner (James Dashner), Sleeping Giants (Sylvain Neuvel), Frankenstein (Mary Shelley), Star Trek, Interstellar

scifi book

    • DYSTOPIAN (comes in two categories)
      • UNVEILED DYSTOPIAN = Takes place in a world that feigns perfection, fairness, order, and unity but is actually total imperfection, unfairness, chaos, and rebellion. It’s only an “Unveiled Dystopian” if society is functioning smoothly under a mass assumption that everything is fine. This type of dystopian story unravels a utopia to reveal that it’s actually a dystopia.
        • e.g. 1984 (George Orwell), The Giver (Lois Lowry), Divergent (Veronica Roth), Matched (Ally Condie), Under the Never Sky (Veronica Rossi)
      • TIME-BOMB DYSTOPIANS are the books that exist in a world where the governing body has attempted to create a utopia but has never succeeded in pulling the wool over the people’s eyes and therefore has never even reached a utopia in the first place. The general public is aware from the start that something is wrong but are at a loss as to how to change it…until the protagonist enters the story.
        • e.g. The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins), Shatter Me (Tahereh Mafi), Legend (Marie Lu)

dystopian book

    • HORROR = Scary, violent, chilling, and bloody – but in varying levels
      •  Most of Stephen King’s novels, Blasted (Sarah Kane), Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (April G. Tucholke)

horror book

    • THRILLER = Fast-paced, gets the blood pumping, full of last-minute wins, tight spaces, time constraints, and unfavorable odds.
      • e.g. James Bond, The Calling (James Frey), Dead Ringer (Jessie Rosen), Six of Crows (Leigh Bardugo)

thriller book

    • MYSTERY = Whole point of the book is to solve a specific mystery.
      • e.g. Miss Marple mysteries, Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes, Cormon Strike mysteries

mystery book

    • HISTORICAL = a) Based on true events and/or people that have already happened in Earth’s timeline; b) Takes place in a period-accurate setting from history but may contain people or events that are fictional
      • e.g. Animal Farm (George Orwell), Raisin in the Sun (Lorraine Hansberry), Leviathan (Scott Westerfeld), Worlds of Ink and Shadow (Lena Coakley), Translations (Brian Friel), Hamilton the Musical, Pride & Prejudice (Jane Austen), Nora & Kettle (Lauren Nicolle Taylor)

history book

    • ROMANCE = The love story is the “be all end all” of the plot. Other stuff happens too of course but it’s all centered around the love story.

romance book

    • REALISM = [includes CONTEMPORARY] Imitates life as it is when the story is written with no funny business (i.e. no parallel universes or magical powers or anything unproven or not accepted by the general public)
      • e.g. The Fault in Our Stars (John Green), Pride & Prejudice (Jane Austen), Taste of Honey (Shelagh Delaney), The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton), In Place of Never (Julie Ann Lindsey)

realism book

  • THEATRE is category/genre on my blog by which I just mean stage plays/scripts…obviously.
  • SIBERIA is where I banish books that I simply absolutely did not fancy.
  • CLASSICS are books that are timeless and/or have made a significant contribution to the literary world…and/or won one of those nifty book awards that puts a shiny medal-sticker on its front cover
  • RETELLINGS are books which were inspired by/have taken a classic story, tale, legend, mythology, etc. and given it a new twist but at the core the plot is the same.


  • It has happened, it is happening, it is all but a 100% guarantee that it will happen (because no one can 100% know the future and outlandish speculation does not count as non-fiction)
    • e.g. Biographies, autobiographies, academic texts, factual documents, records, statistics, peer-reviewed research, rule books, laws, instruction manuals, history books…sometimes, etcetera



And now for the baby llamas…

llama 1 llama 2 llama 3 llama 4 llama 5 llama 6

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