I’m having a genre crisis (and general rant)

Sometimes I have wondered if the story wasn’t taking on a YA tone, and thought maybe that was the way I should go. But my intent is to appeal to a wide age spectrum. I never set out to write YA. My MC is in his teens because that is when a pivotal series of events changes his life. Among his people, anyone his age is considered an adult. He is undersocialized, however; a paradoxical mixture of someone who is both mature and young for his age.

Why should the age of the MC matter? When I was young, I liked to read about adults, not stupid kids. I read heavy stuff, I wanted to explore. Now I’m an old foguette and I like lighter reading. Harlequin Romances aren’t labeled YA because they spare the brain cells.

What set me off is that someone somewhere said my query sounds YA — and mostly useless. What can I say? I try to get the MC’s voice into it, and get slapped down for oversharing. Wottever. I’m done with posting any kind of WIP anywhere for now.

Meanwhile, I have come to doubt my genre. That’s a shitty feeling. I don’t like being labeled. Should I knuckle under if someone points out that it’s a mystery because there are a few murders in it? Or that it is erotica because the MC has a coupla good boinks? What gaddamn criteria do I have to meet, what are the ninky little rules? It’s a friggin fantasy, all right?

Thank God(dess) no one can claim it is romance.