Clearly, YA novels are out to get us and out to eat your children.
Gurdon still just doesn’t seem to get it. Adolescents have to deal with a lot of tough issues. I’m just going to point out a few things…
According to the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network, approximately 44% of rape victims are under the age of 18. Shouldn’t there be access to material that might help these young victims cope, especially when they feel as if they can’t talk to adults about it, or simply aren’t believed? Stop pretending that American teenagers live perfect happy little lives. More of them don’t than you’d like to believe.
And what’s with the whole attitude that the classics are okay but YA lit isn’t? Have you actually read the classics? Last time I checked, Romeo and Juliet were two horny teenagers who killed themselves because their parents wouldn’t let them get married AT THE AGE OF 13. How is that okay in your view, but Sherman Alexie is oh so scandalous? What about “Lord of the Flies,” where teens stranded on an island club each other to death? That’s okay, and Hunger Games isn’t? What about Paradise Lost, with the whole Satan-Sin-Death incest rape with hell hounds crawling in and out of a vagina? That’s okay, but YA lit is not? Or the ancient Greeks, where we find Oedipus, the original motherfucker, and Medea giving gifts of poisoned robes that eat away the skin when worn by her victims? Remember Medea also killed her own kids as revenge. Classic literature is a lot darker than you think.
I read a book about anorexia when I was an adolescent, and guess what happened? It scared me shitless, and I made sure to always eat my vegetables. It also was a good preparation for when I later met people who were actually struggling with it.
I think that Gurdon doesn’t give adolescents enough credit when she assumes that everything in a book is condoned. As this article from CNN states, the teen pregnancy rate is at a historic low, the suicide rate is going down, drunk driving among teens is going down, and fewer teens smoke. Have a little faith in the youth.