In the tradition of acknowledged classics like Candide, Jane Eyre, or even Tom Sawyer, this genre takes our protagonist along an arc that starts with loss or alienation. Perhaps the young hero discovers that the people who raised him are not really his parents. Or just as likely, his magical powers have become evident and he can't explain to anyone's satisfaction why or how the family car becomes a dragon-drawn chariot whenever he gets in.
Heavy. The main character is almost certain to be endowed with special powers that he or she “discovers”; further development and experience expands those magical abilities and their application. However, the magic entails costs and has limits (befitting an instructional novel for young people).
Varies. There may be many characters broadly drawn, or few characters written with great detail, or a combination of the two. The main character will be complex enough to recognize the difficulty of the moral choices presented.
Generally easy to follow the plot. The genre is well understood and familiar to most readers, due to its bildungsromanfoundation and the beloved classic books of this type.
Usually low, and not of an upsetting nature. Authors realize they are inviting sometimes tender psyches into the world of the story. However, as this sub-genre has gained in popularity, more variety exists in the tone of the stories.