Those who know me know I do not get up on a soapbox very often. Today, I'm on the box, with a megaphone, so be warned.
Twitter was awash with #YASaves this morning, and seeing as I follow the YA writer's community almost exclusively, I saw a lot of outrage and fighting back. When I drifted to FB I found a soft-spoken, tad sorrowful status update by Alison from Egmont USA and decided maybe I should check out this article.
It starts out with a mother going to a B & N and being horrified at the amount of vamps and weres and lurid covers. Poor mommy. (sarcasm totally mine) My mother would be lost in the sea at night, too. If you don't know what you're seeking, it's all going to be dark and threatening. Don't go out and bad mouth what you don't know or understand.
I reached this line:: Entertainment does not merely gratify taste, after all, but creates it :: and stopped reading.
Really, Mr. Article Writer??
Entertainment does not merely gratify taste, after all, but creates it?? Pardon me but, fuck that noise. My daughter is 15, inhales YA lit about vamps and weres and other dark things and she is not becoming what she reads, and does not just seek out more of the same. Our loved-like-my-own-daughter family friend is 19 and reads the same as my real daughter. Hell, we all share the same books. They are both virgins, don't date the bad boys who do bad things, don't do drugs, etc. How is this a symptom of what they read creating what they want to read, or creating who they are becoming?
Yes, there is bad language in YA. Yes, there are shadows to peek into in the YA section of the local bookstore. Yes, there are bad things depicted in graphic realism. Yes, there are books of loss and despair. They are not our teens, our teens are not becoming them.
Yes, there is bad language in the YA community-I have teens, I hear it everyday. Yes, there are shadows to peek into in the YA section, where a bright light of inner strength shines. Yes, there are bad things depicted in graphic realism where growth and survival of spirit win out. Yes, there are books of loss and despair where new beginnings and love shine through.
The world isn't pretty. Teen life is occasionally ugly as hell. Don't try to deny it by denying the worth of the darkness too visible to those who do not want to admit it exists.
Wanna know more? Search the #YAsaves hashtag.