Friday, 10 June 2011

Today's YA Too Dark?

B'niz first.  I've had some awesome reviews the last week or so and want to thank all of the reviewers for spending a little time with my book and caring enough to spread the word.  I urge you to check out these blogs -- Mollie's YAttitude Problem, Anna in Athens, GreeceLa Petite Fille Rousse (interview bonus!), and My Keeper Shelf.  I also have a guest post on top 10 things I've learned about teen romance up today on Missy Reads & Reviews.  So you don't OD on blog names here, please feel free to peruse the rest of my reviews on GoodReads and Amazon at your leisure because I'm sure you have nothing better to do on a Friday.

In other news, some lady ignited a firestorm with her Elisabeth Hasselbeck-style view on YA lit.  The Wall Street Journal article discussed the bleak landscape of today's YA novels compared with the Judy Blume unicorns and rainbows of yesteryear.  Remember when it was all menstruation and peeping toms?  Ah, the good old days.  By pointing to all the horrors contained in the pages of modern books for kids as though it's some new phenom, the writer displays a shocking level of ignorance.  She asserts that SE Hinton kicked off dark YA with The Outsiders and publishers have ridden the misery money train ever since.  Has she read any mythology (my books of choice throughout adolescence)?  Myths are full of murder, adultery, rape, sexism, bestiality, and incest (in no order of favoritism).  Did reading about Zeus raping Europa in the form of a bull "normalize" rape for me?  Not so much.  Made me think he was a lightning-chucking asshole, though.  Plenty of YA authors and librarians have weighed in on this topic in the last week so I don't want to repeat too much of what's been said (great points about the Matthew Shepard murder, teen cutting, etc).  I'd simply like to give me two cents on the dystopian angle.  The puppet cites The Hunger Games as "hyper-violent" and rallies parents not to allow publishers "to bulldoze coarseness or misery into their children's lives."  YA dystopian books are uniquely positioned to make teens think about social and ethical issues.  In reading those types of books, they immerse themselves in a possible future.  A bleak future that, if they don't want to find themselves living in it in thirty plus years, may make them think or behave differently as they grow into adulthood.  I wish YA dystopian was more prevalent when I was a teen.  My critical thinking skills didn't kick in until much later, probably because I wasn't confronted by issues that required much critical thought.  Also, science and technology have moved on by leaps and bounds in the past forty years.  The ethical issues arising from these advancements will continue to multiply and I would rather have teens debating these types of issues now and deciding what kind of people they want to be and what kind of world they want to inhabit, rather than having them scratching their heads as adults and wondering how the world ended up in such a sorry state.  At least I can rest assured that my own kids will be emotionally ready to face an uncertain future because I didn't bathe them in sunshine and put their brains on ice for future use.  Hey, that last bit gives me an idea for another dark dystopian YA novel...  

My Quote of the Week: "You're my favorite friend." - my 4-year-old daughter to me.            

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