Sunday, June 19, 2011

Darkness in YA: From a YA's Point of View

If you've been on any sort of book blog, Inkpop, or whatever, you've probably noticed this huge outcry in defense of YA literature.  It's like someone dropped a bombshell or something, honestly.  Who knew that a simple little article could make such a splash?

For you information, the article is right here.  It's basically about how YA books these days are too dark and violent and explicit and aren't good for the young, impressionable YA minds.

Yeah, I know, it's old news by now, but I have to take my stand anyway.

Point 1: Pretty much everyone who reads YA fiction is just that--a young adult.  Sure, adults read it, and you've got the occasional ten-year-old *coughthatwasmecough* for whom the children's section isn't enough, but the audience is mostly teenagers.  With some exceptions, teenagers are mature enough to know what makes them uncomfortable and what doesn't.  If a book is too much for them, they're going to stop reading.  Simple as that.  They know their own limits in that regard.

Point 2: The point of fiction isn't to "prepare readers for the real world".  If that was the case, it wouldn't be fiction.  Readers read simply so they can enjoy the story.  We aren't ignorant; we know there are bad things in the world.  We don't need books to tell us that.  On the other hand, just because we read something violent doesn't mean we'll assume the world is that way.  If a reader can't make the distinction between real life and fiction, then they aren't old enough to be reading in the YA section.  Which brings me to point three...

Point 3: It's not the job of publishers, libraries, schools, the government, Voldemort, or any random person on the street's job to decide what is appropriate for teens to read.  That is the job of the parent alone.  If they don't feel that it's appropriate, it's their job to solve that problem.  I can't think of any way to put that more bluntly.

Point 4: FREEDOM OF THE PRESS, PEOPLE!  IT'S IN THE BILL OF RIGHTS!  Frankly, people can write whatever they want.  You can't tell them not to.  If you don't want to read it, then don't!  But don't interfere with what other people want to read.  It's not your problem.  (By the way, I'm extremely, extremely against book censoring.  Sure, there are books that I don't think are appropriate to read, but that's my personal choice, and I stay away from them.  It's that easy.)

Point 5: Alright.  Attack The Marbury Lens all you want.  I will stand in defense of it forever.

Point 6: To tell you the truth, I find the "books for young men" and "books for young women" thing really, really annoying.  So, what, girls can't read boy books?  I almost never read "girl books".  In fact, most of my favorites were heavily geared towards boys.   

Point 7: I know teenagers, because I am one.  And I'm fairly sure that banning books will make teens want to read them even more.  I'm just sayin'.  I also find it interesting that a few of the books that site recommended have actually been banned in the past.  (As a side note, the website I checked said that The Hunger Games had been contested for "violence and sexuality".  Sexuality?  What?  Are you kidding?  At least read the book before you ban it, people.)

So, there you have it.  What did you think of that article, and the subject in general?

Edit: So they'll bash books for being brutal, but then go and recommend Ship Breaker? *snicker*  Is this article supposed to make sense?

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