I have been struggling over the genre of my novel for a few days now. I've been pitching it to agents as Adult Sci Fi without much success but after doing some research I am wondering if it could swing into the YA category. The story takes place in the distant future which includes space travel and other futuristic elements but the story focuses on three main characters (three different POVs): a female protagonist who's story lines drives the main story arc, and two male protagonists who are on opposing sides of warring factions(there is also a potential love triangle between the three). Here is the hook from my query letter (focusing only on the female's protagonist's POV since she is pivotal to the story):
Cora Carter knew a trip to Earth could be dangerous, but she never imagined that a university sponsored archaeological dig to that wasteland of a planet could go so wrong. Yet when their hijacked journey through space finally reaches its destination, she finds they are nowhere near Earth but poised in orbit over a lost world of ice and snow with no way to return home.
But that’s not the worst part, Cora has been here before.
Evergreen is a forgotten world, an old colony of the Great American Empire that once ruled the known universe. Cora and the other members of her university expedition end up marooned on this world which suffers eight months of winter and its people are no more advanced than Earth of the early 1800s. Yet secrets about those ancient Americans and their advanced technology were hidden here which threaten to throw this world into a terrible civil war.
If Cora can avoid becoming a pawn in this war she just might uncover the clues to why her father brought her here years ago, and perhaps find a new love along the way.
The problem is that the characters are of college age, early twenties, which I understand is a outside the typical YA range of up to 18. Yet the rest of the story could potentially fit: the romantic angle between the three characters does complicate the plot but there is no explicit sexual content and little graphic language. There is some graphic violence but nothing gory which from what I've read and researched is okay for YA. I know that some YA novels could be edging into this age territory but is it harder to sell and if it is possible, is there a sub-genre of YA that would make more sense?
What do you think, is this better suited as a YA or should I continue pitching it as a Sci Fi adventure novel? Or am I missing the mark altogether in both cases?