All about YA today.
Because our focus is on kids from birth through age 12, we give away more board, picture, early chapter, and middle grade books than we do YA. But we do keep some on our shelves, we read it, and we keep our antennae up for what’s happening. And friends, YA is happening.
So I wasn’t surprised that when Ruth Graham’s piece “Against YA” — arguing adults should read books written for adults and not those written for a teenage audience — appeared in Slate late last week, there was a huge backlash. This week, I’m linking to both the original piece and several responses.
Part of this is to examine the larger debate about what constitutes quality literature. Here at CLiF, we give away only high-quality books. That includes Newbery and Caldecott winners, yes, and also graphic novels, humor books, how-to, Choose Your Own Adventure, and other genres kids love though they’re perhaps not traditionally likely to net awards (to answer your next question, we steer clear of movie or TV marketing tie-ins and religion).
The quality debate crops up on the regular within adult lit, often in response to the popularity of “genre” fiction (mystery, fantasy, sci-fi, and so-called chick lit are all among the usual suspects). YA is an interesting target. YA happens to encapsulate any number of subgenres, and in addition to the question of quality, we’re wading straight into the teens vs. adults cultural battleground.
And people, these rebuttal pieces contain gold mines of YA recommendations in the articles and the comments. Consider my reading list assembled.
- From Slate. Ruth Graham’s “Against YA”
- In the Atlantic, Julie Beck’s powerful “The Adult Lessons of YA Fiction”
- Yes, I crosspost to Elizabeth Bluemle’s entries on the Shelftalker blog more than anything else. She’s so darn good. Here’s “Let’s Compile the Anti-Anti-YA Reading List.” (And that reading list was posted this morning, by the way.)
- Hearty tongue-in-cheek from Mark Medley in Canada’s National Post: “Ruth Graham doesn’t go far enough” and Lyndsay Faye in Criminal Element: “Slate Nailed It: YA And Detective Fiction are for Rubes”
- And if the conversation has you inspired to pick up a book: Buzzfeed, always good for a list, gives us “25 YA Books For Adults Who Don’t Read YA.”