Saturday, April 18, 2009

YA as fast food

It seems that whenever I come to the conclusion that nearly everyone in the literary world has accepted YA novels as real fiction now, or at least, god help us, as good as the "real" novels, I stumble across a review or blog like this one:

"If I have one quibble, it is that I think [ YA book title ] should be sitting proudly on the shelf next to these books, rather than being hidden away in the "young adult" ghetto. There's been a lot of fury among authors recently about the proposal to "age-band" children's books, but in a way they're too late. The real disaster has already happened. It's called "young adult" fiction. It used to be the case that you moved on from children's fiction to adult fiction, from The Owl Service, maybe, to Catcher in the Rye. There were, of course, some adult authors who were more fashionable with teenage readers than others - Salinger, Vonnegut, Maya Angelou. But these were chosen by teenagers themselves from the vast world of books. Some time ago, someone saw that trend and turned it into a demographic. Fortunes were made but something crucial was lost. We have already ghettoised teenagers' tastes in music, in clothes and - God forgive us - in food. Can't we at least let them share our reading? Is there anything more depressing than the sight of a "young adult" bookshelf in the corner of the shop. It's the literary equivalent of the "kids' menu" - something that says "please don't bother the grown-ups". If To Kill a Mockingbird were published today, that's where it would be placed, among the chicken nuggets."

Well, that's a kick in the shin. Nothing thrills me more than hearing some critic compare YA novels to fast food. I guess its also depressing that many, many adults are reading YA fiction now, and that the YA book bloggers community has grown so fast over the years its practically its own entity. That depressing "young adult bookshelf" in the corner of the shop has now exploded into an entire wall and ... oh my ... can it be ... ADULTS are standing before it, browsing? Maybe we should put a sign up that says: "Teen section, no adults allowed. Please don't bother the teenagers." Here's a news flash. Teen fiction isn't written by teenagers. Its written by adults, because they loved that time in life, because they remember what it was like to be a teenager. Teenhood is all about conflict, the struggle to fit in, the balance between childhood and growing up, and the fight to define yourself as an individual. Its a time of first love, growing apart, finding yourself, dealing with parents, loyalty, betrayal, and coming of age. More adults are reading YA because its GOOD, because the struggle of teenagers is something we've all dealt with. If you, Mr. Boyce, think YA is nothing but "ghetto-trash," than you've clearly not read much YA at all, and have no right to criticize. Me, I'm just happy that teens are willing to "share their reading" with us.

And I like chicken nuggets, thankyouverymuch.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Blogging is writing, sort of

Blogging instead of working on my book. Story of my life. Ah, well.