Jun 10, 2011

TGIF and Week In Review (1)

New feature alert! Hosted by Ginger over at GReads, TGIF is a way to recap the week on your blog and answer a question she asks to bloggers. Linking up spreads the word, so visit her blog for more info and to participate! :o)

This week's TGIF question is:

YA Saves: How do you feel about the "dark" books filling our YA shelves today?

Having read "dark" YA books, such as those written by Ellen Hopkins, I can see the concern. Who wants their children reading about meth addicts, suicidal teens, and self-mutilators? Novels with sadness and tragedy aren't exactly the uplifting, encouraging reads society likes. They do not come in neat, nicely wrapped packages. These books can be violent, upsetting, inappropriate, and disturbing. They can contain explicit language, such as swearing or descriptions of sex, alcohol and drug abuse, and bullying. Does this sound like suitable material for teenagers? Maybe not.

But with all that being said, these books, however dark and disturbing they are, NEED to be written! They can literally save lives. Teens going through a situation described in a "dark" YA book may find strength from the character going through the same situation! Books may give teens a reason to keep going if they see that someone else knows what they're going through. Books provide a friend and confidant when there is no one else to approach. Books can be trusted and won't tattle or make fun. Books do not judge. They tell a story, and then they let you relate.

After that WSJ article came out, all heck broke loose on Twitter and everyone was telling their stories about how YA novels could have saved lives when they were young. I've never really had a major issue - no eating disorders, suicide attempts, self-mutilating, etc etc. However, I can see how reading about someone going through what you're going through can help. Books like Thirteen Reasons Why, Freefall, and Go Ask Alice may have dark themes, but it shows teens why NOT to be that way.

I also think we need to trust that teens who are reading these books know the difference between right and wrong. In the case of murder in YA novels (see Kate Brian's very entertaining Private/Privilege series) they should know that killing people isn't right. Not to mention that, in high school, when I WAS a teen, I read adult novels about suicide and murder! Think The Awakening by Kate Chopin and - HELLO?! - Romeo and Juliet, or anything by Shakespeare for that matter! This is okay, but books about actual teens going through actual life matters is not okay? And is it okay when it's non-fiction, biographical, like A Child Called "It" and Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul on Tough Stuff? Do we only cross the line when it's considered fiction, even though the inspiration may be from the author's own life?? Okay, now I'm getting angry all over again.

And it isn't only teens who read YA novels. I'm 25, and I still read books for "teens" all the time. Sometimes we just need to go back there. That's all I'm saying. I know a lot of people (authors, bloggers, readers) feel the way I do, and I think I've brought up some good points. I would like to see your thoughts on this, so leave your link in the comments, and I'll check out as many as I can on the linky. Thanks everyone!

1 comment:

Thanks so much for leaving a comment! It means a lot!! Happy Reading!!