So, if you are an avid twitter user and follow the fabulous YA lit community, you have probably already heard of the Wall Street Journal’s recent article bemoaning the depravity of current young adult literature. The Hunger Games must be a sick joke! Talking about rape is only OK if people get out of it right before it happens! There are no happy YA books anymore! Etc. Etc. Etc.
Some of those thought may be taken from the comments (which seem filled with failed YA writers saying that it’s totally their great morals keeping them from getting published to which I add- there are TONS of books for YA out there that don’t fit the article’s description. It’s not how much you swear, it’s whether or not your writing speaks to the young adult experience). All in all, the article and discussion surrounding it got me all fired up to tear off a soap-boxy stand where I deplore the morals of the YA haters and their inability to let children grow and learn as people. I would use wit and sarcasm to ask if they would be so caught up in their own idyllic fantasies of youth if someone had let them read books to make them think in their adolescence.
Then, I read Steph So Reads blog post about the whole thing. She talks about how a lot of debates today are people shouting at each other (I’m paraphrasing) where no one is changing anyone else’s mind. Everyone is just taking their stand and loudly proclaiming why they, and only they, are right. Then I felt a little bit embarrassed about my own stand.
I still believe that the writer of the post is fundamentally wrong on a number of issues, including the fact that these books are not written for her or the angry commenters but for young adults, but I do wish that we could start a discourse about why each side feels so strongly. I don’t know that it would change anything, but I think that if people could discuss these things civilly, it might lead to less book banning. (OK. I also had a problem with her very fiesty support of book banning as a form of parental judgement. PLEASE take an interest in what your child reads (though this kind of attitude will probably cause them to find other places to read the things they want or perhaps grow up with a complex about those issues (TRUE STORY)), but do not take the right for anyone else to read those things away.)
All right. So, I haven’t exactly embraced the philosophy of discourse instead of debate, but I acknowledged it. That’s got to be a step in the right direction. Now I would like to end with beautiful twitter quotes from AWESOME YA lovers and authors. Many of which were retweeted or discussed by Maureen Johnson (@maureenjohnson), Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself), and Libba Bray (@libbbray) and you know I love them! If you’re reading this close to the publishing date, just search twitter for #YAsaves for the MANY rebuttals to the WSJ’s post.
@elockhart said, “I have a responsibility to my readers to tell the truth. I’m writing for your kids, not for you.”
@OfficiallyAlly says, “Who wants to bet the @WSJ would call any non-dark YA book “fluff” and write it off as non-literature anyway?”
@JosinMcQuein said, “Because sometimes pretending everything is fine will kill you faster than suicide”
@brickpants said, “YA taught me to accept people; broken, beaten, angry, shy, gay, straight, happy, depressed. And it taught me to accept /myself/. ”
@Bulletwisdom says, “YA gives my daughter and I something intelligent issues to argue about over the dinner table.”
@meanjoanna said, “YA gave me a place to go when i didn’t have a home.”
@sickcuriousity said, “YA helped me stay alive when an abusive home and being gay made me not want to be anymore.”
@KatherynnnAlice said, “YA taught me first the scope and breadth of human emotion, and that every feeling is universal.”
@jlewenda said, “Books helped me realise that it wasn’t my fault for being raped.”
@rightingteacher said, “YA showed me worlds I had no access to as a rural poor kid in an insular, conservative area, and opened my mind and heart. ”
@scott_tracey said, “YA books can be a voice in the dark, when you think no one else will ever understand you.”