YA Point of View: Should It Be Written in First or Third?

Hi all,

an agent recently passed on my young adult manuscript for a reason I never considered – the point of view I’d used.

You see, I’ve written my YA novel primarily in third person limited. I say primarily because I pull back occasionally in the narration to include the POV character in the frame, rather than seeing everything solely through his eyes (or through her eyes – it is multiple-POV as well, did I not mention that?)

While my writing was praised for voice and character development, the agent in question is of the view that it is too difficult to connect to this age group using third person POV. I don’t know if this was the only deciding factor in the pass, but I’d be interested to know how much POV choice makes in other agents’ deliberations on a submission, YA or otherwise.

I concede that most YA stories these days seem to be written in first person (granted, being in the character’s head usually creates a greater sense of intimacy), but there are many examples of successfully-told stories that primarily use third person limited POV – anyone remember that series of books about a certain boy wizard?

The thing is, when I began writing this novel, third person felt like the most natural way to tell the story, partly due to its multiple-POV structure, and partly due to its greater ability to describe the world outside the POV character, but mainly due to the way it rolled off my tongue and fell onto the screen. It did, and still does, feel like the right way for this story to be told.

Saying that, I believe any time an agent provides feedback is proof that your work is worth commenting on and, like all other feedback, I take these comments on board, not as a rejection, but as part of an ongoing learning process.

My current work-in-progress is a middle-grade novel with only one POV character – and this one comes to me more naturally in first person. Funny, that.


What do you prefer, first or third? Limited or omniscient? Anyone write on second? Anyone write in more than one POV?

Have you had an agent or editor list POV as a reason for passing on your work? And if so, in what genre?


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