Are Teen books to dark?

June 6, 2011

Over the weekend, Meghan Cox Gurdon at the Wall Street Journal wrote an article: Darkness Too Visible: contemporary fiction for teens is rife with explicit abuse, violence and depravity.  Why is this considered a good idea?  She writes that fiction aimed at young adults in recent years has become rife with pathologies, that  “kidnapping and pederasty and incest and brutal beatings are now just part of the run of things in novels directed, broadly speaking, at children from the ages of 12 to 18.”

If books show us the world, teen fiction can be like a hall of fun-house mirrors, constantly reflecting back hideously distorted portrayals of what life is. There are of course exceptions, but a careless young reader—or one who seeks out depravity—will find himself surrounded by images not of joy or beauty but of damage, brutality and losses of the most horrendous kinds.

Twitter went crazy under the hashtag #YASaves.  Bookshelves of Doom posted a round up of responses.

One-Minute Book Reviews posted In Defense of Meghan Cox Gurdon, Children’s Book Reviewer.

Novelist and dad Christopher John Farley wrote Should Young Adult Books Explore Difficult Issues?

Galleycat posted: Wall Street Journal Reporter Sparks Controversy with YA Readers which includes responses from Teen authors:

Neil Gaiman: I get letters from readers – 2 or 3 every month – telling me how my books got them through hell. & the Teens have the worst hells. #YAsaves

Melissa de la Cruz: Let the kids read what they want, leave ‘em alone. But gosh, that brought a lot of traffic to @WSJ didn’t it?

Laurie Halse Anderson: Just blogged my thoughts about the ridiculously stupid @wsj article:http://tinyurl.com/42dkuct . What do you think? #YAsaves

Libba Bray: At 18, after a devastating car accident, reading helped save my life & led me to write. #YAsaves

Meg Cabot: Everyone should read what they like w/o being judged! http://tinyurl.com/3ggd62z#YAsaves #Romancesaves #Comixsaves #Horrorsaves

What do you think?

via PW Morning Report

posting by Lorraine

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