Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Teens and adults...Calling all my YA fans!

*This is taken from our Fallenarchangel blog*

Is YA Getting a Bad Rap?

Frankie over at The First Novels Club posted a really super blog yesterday about the bad rap YA has been getting from some folks lately.

Teens are dealing with more crap than ever these days. They know and understand harsh realities that even those of us who were teenagers half a decade ago didn't have to go through. The world is rapidly changing, and teens are rapidly adjusting. They're smart. They're savvy. And they are tough cookies. And if they want to read a book--any book--that is fantastic. Because reading rocks.

Most teens know the difference between a normal relationship and an extremely unhealthy one, which yes- it does often gets glorified and depicted in paranormal romance. And if there are teens or adults reading a book along those lines, believing it's sexy to threaten violence, believing its healthy for a person to want to kill themselves over you, dreaming of a guy who stalks you...I have a hard time believing that those thoughts and desires stemmed from the reading of a book. Unhealthy ideas about relationships stem from a deeper source than that and are often the fault of other factors, not a story.

We want to take this a step further, we want to know what you think....

It’s no secret that YA books have grown in popularity with teens, tweens and adults of all ages. With that popularity comes more scrutiny – it has been said that some YA contains immoral themes that could negatively influence young readers. We want to hear from YOU young and old, YA Lovers, Readers, Writers, Editors (etc). Are you influenced by the storylines and relationships you read about? Join us on Thursday night at 9 pm to discuss this on


B.E. said...

Interesting article, and I'm afraid to say that, yes, I do think YA novels can very heavily influence the people reading them. And not always just about relationships. True story, one of my best friends read the YA novel 13 Reasons Why (we both read it, actually). It's a book about a girl who commits suicide and how she basically sends a personalized message to each person who had given her a reason why. (There were 13 of them)
While she read, my friend cut all her hair off, dropped out of all social activity and, a week or two after she finished the book, attempted suicide. She later said that she'd been contemplating it beforehand, but the book itself had been a huge contributer.
I read the book myself, and felt so messed up for the next few months, that my grades dropped from a 3.6 to a 3.3 in a matter of weeks.
The danger (and the attraction) of YA novels is that they're in the world of teenagers, which is already unstable and drama-filled enough. What teenage girl can't place herself in Bella Swan's shoes? (For some disturbing proof of how YA can effect people, go to
But the question is, just because it causes strong reaction, does that mean the genre's bad? In my opinion, no. But you can't wave away the fact that they do have enormous impact on their readers, and, if they're well written, can influence a growing, changing teenager's idea of right and wrong. Is any one book to blame for the emergence of twisted relationships within teenage society? No, I don't think so, and I don't think it's a new problem. But I think a small part of the problem is that unhealthy has become the norm in YA fiction, mostly because it sells.
GAH, sorry for the novel, but I read your post and thought of my friend. Also, though this was on the TV, there was a degrassi episode that aired on a local station five years that featured a girl cutting. By the next monday, at least 15 girls in my grade (me included) had been pulled into the principle's office for self-harm, and we had all started that weekend. Coincidence?

T. Anne said...

This is tough. I remember when I was a teen thinking my parents would never want me reading the books I was reading. (shh don't tell.) BAck then the covers were still innocent looking enough, perhaps all that's really changed are the dark covers?

Rebecca L Sutton said...

Thank you for such a personal comment, Bethany. I'm really sorry to hear about the struggles your friend faced. I hope she's doing well. I've heard a lot about the book, 13 Reasons Why, all of it positive, so I think it's really interesting that she felt it influenced her in such a negative way.

Personally, I've never experienced that side of it. But this is the kind of thing we want to hear about on our chat this week. I think this is a very important issue to discuss and offer up our experiences and opinions on. You raise a lot of valid points in your well written comment so I hope you can make it to the chat.

We're also thinking of asking some readers to do guest posts so maybe you'll consider putting your name in for that so you can share your experiences on this topic. Thanks again for contributing to the conversation!

Rebecca L Sutton said...

T. Anne, good point on the cover thing! You'd never know from looking at them how dark some of the books were back when I was younger either. They're sooo pretty now.

I love the books that give an age recommendation. Like ages 14 and helps parents big time.