At the recent Left Coast Crime 2015 event I was on a panel with Jennifer Bosworth, Linda Gerber, April Henry and Mary Elizabeth Summer entitled: Not Safe for Children: The Young Adult Crime Story.
I had a good time starting with hearing everyone’s brief biography, which we each had written and submitted. As moderator, Jennifer Bosworth asked good questions and the panel members responses were interesting. The audience questions were also good. Many audience members asked about the differences between writing for a YA audience and writing for adults.
My favorite question came from a woman in the audience who yelled out, “What about sex?”
I answered, “Great, but I’m scheduled to be on this panel for another fifteen minutes. Can you wait that long?”
I had prepared for a question I was not asked. Since I don’t want to waste the time I spent in research on merely educating myself, I decided to write this blog.
Would you care to discuss the recent rather heated discussion about whether or not adults should feel embarrassed by reading Young Adult books?
What an intriguing question. First, I would say based on a 2012 survey by Bowker it appears that most readers (55%) of YA book are adults. So either a lot of readers need to feel embarrassed or there is something about YA books that appeals to adults as well as to young adults.
I favor the second possibility. Historically there was no genre known as YA. Adults read Catcher in the Rye and Huckleberry Finn without apology. Today they would be labeled YA.
While some YA books are trite, so are some books in all categories. I believe some truly excellent literature is now categorized as YA. John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian and Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone will be considered classics.
I make no apology for writing Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction as well as fiction for adults.
Do you agree or not? Why?