Wednesday, June 8, 2011

WSJ controvery awesomeness

Rage (Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Book 2)So I'm sure you guys didn't miss the hoopla about YA; the WSJ posted yet another ill-advised and under-reserched piece about young adult novels this past weekend. To summarize: books for teenagers are too dark nowdays! Also, there was an appropriate reading list divided into "boy books" and "girl books", which I have to admit I was stuck on myself...

Anyway, there was an appropriately irritated response from the kid lit community which included a Twitter trend of #yasaves - some of the responses are here as well as on Twitter.

Are You in the House Alone?There's no need for another outrage filled post, so I'm just going to say... I'm so glad we're even having conversations like these.  When I was still searching the YA section for books to read in the '90s, there was so little there. Too old for Babysitters Club and Nancy Drew? Well, there was a handful of issues books like Are You In the House Alone?, A Wrinkle in Time (which I loved) as well as L'Engle's other books, V.C. Andrew's bizarro world and... well, I remember a bunch of romances about terminally ill girls featuring prominently in the tiny YA department of the local bookstore. Slim pickings, and the reason why most of us moved straight on to reading adult fantasy or horror or whatever.

Teens today don't have to skip straight to King and Heinlein right away, though, the way I did (a point which I think the original WSJ article missed -- kids aren't stuck in the YA section, which encompasses such a wide range, from fluffy romance to violent dystopian to gritty issues, that it can now compete with the adult shelves, at least for a while).  There are YA books to hook every reader, including the ones who might not make the jump to adult fiction otherwise.

And while that might be causing some unrest in various parental camps, that's also pretty awesome.


Beverly Diehl said...

You know, LIFE is dark. Life is full of wars and poverty and eating disorders and sexual abuse. None of which teens are immune to, some of which, in fact, they've personally experienced to a very high degree.

Like you, I loved my L'Engle and Heinlein, but I think that WSJ opinion is much ado over teen angst that would exist anyway.

Old Kitty said...

Dear adult people. Kids are not silly, are very intelligent, even wise, so trust them a little please and watch them learn and grow.

Take care

Jennifer said...

I remember my mother having a minor meltdown when she caught me reading VC Andrews. I inhaled books from an early age and ran out of stuff to read. Oh - and SO many books about poor terminally ill kids- I remember that. Why? I skipped to adult literature very early on - you can barely notice the resulting ticks.

Looking back, if there were passages too "adult" I must have mentally skipped them over. When I re-read some of those books now, I get different themes and notice things I didn't before. Children and teens aren't quite so fragile. Also, I think we must self-filter to some degree.