Once upon a time, I used to do the combination grammar/spell checker with Microsoft Word on my middle grade novels and short stories. I’d reach the end where I’d find that I was writing on the 12th grade level. Well, it wasn’t a matter of dumbing things down. It’s a matter of accessbility and meeting readers where they were. So I cut down some sentences and altered vocabulary. The next day, I took it through the same check. I’d managed to get things down to the 10th grade level.
That’s why it was a bit interesting for me to learn that SUSPECT comes in as a High/Low book on the Lexile scale. It’s written for older readers, but has that easier sentence structure and vocabulary. In fact, a gifted third grader could tackle it. (Yeek!) But under that smooth and accessible prose is a carefully plotted mystery with some interesting characters. Or at least I’d like to think so!