The A stands for Adult.

Oh for fuck’s sake. Yet another idiot is complaining that books are hurting “the children.” I don’t know why the Wall Street Journal printed this op-ed as a book review (seriously, what the hell?), but I think that the author’s attitude is about as harmful as they come.

There’s been a huge response on Twitter and on YA authors’ blogs (Stephanie Kuehnert and Courtney Summers to name two who happen to be friends of mine) and the Wall Street Journal, to their credit, posted a response (which seems to be labeled “Hot Topics,” rather than Book Reviews OR Op-Ed).

The blog posts I’ve seen talk about how books helped the authors deal with bullying, abuse, and more; the WSJ response talks about how children are exposed to the world anyway, and parents can open a dialogue with them rather than ineffectively attempting to shield them. Both of these viewpoints are important. There’s one thing that I haven’t seen covered anywhere.

Why has no one addressed the fact that YA readers aren’t children? Sure, a child might read a young adult novel. But the intended audience is teenagers, and I just don’t agree that teenagers are children. Also, I am FUCKING SICK of YA literature being referred to as children’s books. THE A STANDS FOR ADULT. If publishers and reviewers would just stop lumping YA in with children’s books, this wouldn’t be an issue. (Well, I’m sure the whiners of the world would find a way to make it one. But it wouldn’t be THIS issue.)

8 thoughts on “The A stands for Adult.

  1. Susan

    June 5, 2011 at 12:10pm

    Also, how much did I shudder at the “Books We Can Recommend for Young Men/Women” sidebar? The gender divide, the insinuated stamp of approval, all of it just creeped me out.

  2. Annika

    June 5, 2011 at 1:05pm

    Oh, ew. I didn’t even look at that before. I don’t think it would bother me if the gender divide weren’t there, but ew ew ew.

  3. Jenn

    June 5, 2011 at 1:49pm

    Hmm, ya know I’m going to work this into my Children’s Lit course next month. We talk a whole lot about the myth of the universal innocent childhood, so this would tie in nicely.

  4. Katie S

    June 5, 2011 at 6:01pm

    I personally have ALWAYS taken issue with banned books of any sort; I went to a high school where we read an amazing number of books off the ‘ALA Most Banned Books List’. I turned out just fine.
    These issues that this woman is taking offense at are those that need to be dealt with when you ARE a young adult. Rape, cutting, homosexuality, violence. You can’t send an 18 year old into the world being completely ignorant of other cultures, life choices, or mental illness.
    BEING a young adult is all about pushing boundaries and learning about the global world, not just the insular world you grew up in. Logically the books aimed towards this age group would do the same.

  5. allison

    June 6, 2011 at 10:16am

    I think something that the author fails to recognize: if these issues weren’t relevant and important to teens, they wouldn’t sell. Ask any adult who tried to force a kid to read a book that didn’t “hook” them and see how quickly they can turn off reading altogether. Teens seek out controversial books, it is an important resource for figuring out how the world works. A better stance for a parent to take is to make sure that they read the same books their child reads, and open discussions about the issues that arise.

  6. Jodi

    June 6, 2011 at 9:19pm

    Since my book club will be discussing the YA novel we just read (“The Hunger Games”) this coming weekend, I think I’ll email that piece ahead of time to add to our discussion. When I was a “young adult,” I was devouring Stephen King novels, with my mother’s blessing.

Comments are closed.