Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Today We Will Concentrate On YA

Wikipedia's Young Adult Literature entry has the following posted along the top: "To meet Wikipedia's quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup."

That is so YA, isn't it?

Thanks to Finding Wonderland: The Writing YA Weblog for the link.

The Feb. VOYA has an article by Tanya Lee Stone called Now and Forever: The Power of Sex in Young Adult Literature. I felt the article rambled a bit, but I tend to feel that way about a lot of articles, anyway. Evidently I need a tightly written essay that sort of leads me to the points the author is trying to make. I think in this case, though, Stone was burdened by a big subject. Sex in Young Adult literature could be approached from a number of angles. The readers' and writers' angles, of course, but then you also have the whole social responsibility thing because Young Adults are...young, often underaged...and sex is...sexy. Disturbing. Especially to people who aren't young and underaged.

At one point Stone talks about "the role or responsibility of the author." I don't think this is a major issue when you're talking about authors of works directed toward adults. But Stone is right in considering this. Even if YA authors don't spend a lot of time wondering about their responsibility, there are plenty of people out in the general public who will wonder about it for them. In order for an author writing for adults to get comparable scrutiny, he'd have to be caught lying about his memoirs. He can say pretty much what he wants to about sex, so long as he's not lying about it.

Stone also asks why sex seems so prevalent in fiction lately. She suggests that it's partly in response to the visual media "pelt[ing] teens with overt sexualty." Maybe. Except that the media has been doing that for years. Years. I
think there's been plenty of sex in your more sophisticated YA books for years, too. It's only getting noticed now because of the popularity of the genre. With all the new interest we now have more writers, more readers, and more commentary.

Stone concludes with this: "Sexuality is part of growing up and our readers are not children--they are adults--young adults. They must be able to seek out the characters and situations that reflect the world in which they live, and resonate with them."

That's true. I would suggest, though, that if there were no sex in YA fiction, young adults would still be reading about sexuality as they probably have for generations. They'd just get it from adult books. You don't have to show your ID to purchase books or borrow them from the library.

Wouldn't that be one messy road to have to go down?

Thanks to Adbooks for the link.


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12:34 AM  

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