Sunday, June 5, 2011

Wall Street Journal Article About Young Adult Literature

Hello All,

The Wall Street Journal published an article called "Darkness Too Visible"
Linkin their Book Review column June 4, 2011. The article discusses the darkness of young adult literature today, and how it evolved from what the article calls the first young adult novel, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.

My opinion of this article is that it is one person's opinion, like most reviews are. I'm personally offended because I've been a young adult services librarian, and I feel the author of this column, Mrs. Meghan Fox Gurdon, gives no credit to the young adults themselves for the ability to select their own reading material. Teens talk about books with each other, hear about books from other teens, and then venture to the library or a bookstore to investigate the book themselves. They may read a book because "everyone else is reading it", but I didn't personally find that that teens liked a book because another teen liked it.

YOUNG ADULTS/TEENS ARE NOT STUPID. They can make their own decisions about what to read, and what they take from what they read.

Just like adult novels, and the publishing industry, the young adult novels go through trends. The trends now are include vampires, dystopian societies, zombies, and graphic novels. The young adult novels actually have the same trends as adult novels (vampires, zombies) today, though to my observation, the mystery genre is not large with teens.

Based on my own reading, young adult novels are as well-written, or better written, than many adult novels. Another trend is that there are many adults reading young adult novels just for that reason.

I feel that Mrs. Gurdon in her Wall Street Journal article did not research her column enough to make some of the statements that she did. Nor did she point out that there are many, many alternatives to the dark fiction that she depicted in her column. There are many books that are less descriptive in what she considers negative or dark subjects; there are still many titles that focus on high school life, sports, and positive family situations.

I hope that every reader at least thinks of trying a young adult novel soon. Ask a librarian at your local library for a book that would best suit your interests.

Happy Reading!

1 comment:

Mia said...

These are the books that the 14-year-olds in my neighborhood like the most. You will notice that none of the books listed have these dark themes. Who is deciding what is appropriate for kids? Adults or kids? When kids chose themselves, they are not necessarily wanting to read those dark, violent books. You will notice a lot of Middle Grade books on their list. YA is really skewing older and the growth in this genre is due to adults not 12-14 year old kids. There is something wrong with this categorization of books as it does not reflect the actual readership as defined by YALSA.

Pragmatic Mom