I'm wondering about drinking and drug use by adults in mid-grade novels. My WIP, set in 1970s, has a pot-smoking mother (daughter, main character, disapproves and pretends not to know.) Would that element place me in the YA category? (problematical since MC is only 13)
The only way this would end up in the middle-grade shelves is if it were abundantly clear that the author/book itself disapproved of that behavior. It's not enough for the main character to disapprove, unless it's written in 1st person. As long as the book clearly presents a bias against drug use, it might be tween. If you want to present both sides and let your reader choose, you're talking YA.