Monday, June 13, 2011

Is YA Too Dark For Our Teens?

The Article and My Thoughts

Okay, so I'm a little slow at posting this. I originally had another post scheduled for today, but after reading the Wall Street Journal article by Megan Cox Gurdon that seems to have taken Twitter by storm I decided to throw my two cents in. I find it really sad that one mom's prejudice towards an entire genre of books has managed to influence others. My big question is for Amy Freeman - Have you read any of the books that you judged as being too "dark" for your 13 year old daughter?

Originally this post was a long rant, but then I added a few books at the end that aren't "dark." Then I thought more about it and decided that I didn't want to have a post full of my ranting. Instead I decided a post with examples of how YA isn't dark would be better.

So then, I guess a better question for Amy Freeman would be -> You didn't see any of these books on the shelf?

The Books: 

Radiance by Alyson Noel is more than appropriate. It's like the replacement for the books I read as a teenager. Mystery and ghost stories all rolled up into one. Yes, I have read this book. Yes, my 12 year old has also read it. She loved it and is currently reading the sequel, Shimmer.

It's Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder is another cute and fun book for the middle grade girls. Again, I have read it and recommended it to my daughter. It is on her to-read list. The follow up Sprinkles and Secrets will be released this September.

I have never read a Sarah Dessen novel, but I will. She deals with things that "normal" teenagers deal with everyday. There is no "dark," "lurid," or inappropriate material in her novels, from what I have researched. She is widely popular and her latest book, What Happened To Goodbye, was just released last month. I haven't been able to walk into a bookstore and NOT see at least one of her books on display.

Matched by Ally Condie is another great book. It's set in a dystopian society. I enjoyed this book very much and have seen it displayed everywhere. There is not violence, sex, foul language or anything that could possibly make this book "dark."The sequel Crossed will be released this coming November.

The Dark Devine by Bree Despain is not dark either. It's about friendship, family, and loyalty. Yes, it has werewolves and could be considered a bit dark, but there is nothing I wouldn't let my own daughter read in this novel or it's sequel, The Lost Saint.  Despain is currently working on the third installment in this series.

I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder. Contrary to the title it isn't dark at all. It is a verse novel about a girl dealing with the sudden and unexpected death of her boyfriend. It's companion verse novel, Chasing Brooklyn, is also a great read.

The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder is another great verse novel. It will be released on June 28, 2011 and is a really good read. This quickly became one of my favorite verse novels ever. Again, not "dark."

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand. I do not find this one dark. It's about decision making for teens. Choices and their consequences.

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern. This is a great read that teaches teens to not take what they have for granted. I loved this book. 

I can come up with many more examples, but in the light of making this rant not go on forever I'll give in. This should be a start for Amy Freeman and Megan Cox Gurdon to take a look at. You can find other books on my "young adult" shelf on Goodreads.

Your Turn -> Do you think the WSJ's article was a fair and just article or not?

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