Cupcake Aficiando and Writer of Middle Grade Novels
I think it depends on the way the story is told. Younger kids can deal with these issues. They live in it now. It's all about presentation. If it feels darker to you, I'd say more YA but if it's couched in reality and not as dark, I say give it to the MG's. They're smart kids and deal with more than we realize.
I have had the privilege of reading your work and think your voice is strongly MG. Just my humble opinion. That being the case, keep any swear words light (you know the 'acceptable' ones) - though rules are broken every day in this biz.MG readers can handle issues. They live them, see them in their friends, read about them all the time.
I'm really hoping it can be MG. I just don't want to scare anybody off... Blood can be scary.
Amy, you are gifted...if you want it to be MG, you'll make it appropriate. I agree with Tess, your voice is strongly MG. Don't forget we are here if you need us.
I think there are some MG readers who need to read about these things because they are living them. They look for ways to deal with those situations and having it in a book is sometimes the best way to get the message across. ~ YayaYaya's Changing World