Hey, Teens–Clue Me In

I am one of those adults who write Young Adults fiction. Note that none of it is actually written by young adults.

Because this is where I park my pen, I try to read a lot of contemporary YA fiction to see what the standards are, these days. It ain’t lookin’ good.

The oldsters who write books for teenagers seem to think “young adults” need a steady diet of gore, cruelty, aberrant sex, and really corny dialogue that will be unreadable, a generation down the road. Most of them write with a certain image of “teen culture” in their minds, and imprison their characters and their readers in it from cover to cover. I know I wouldn’t have liked these books when I was 16.

Here is my shout-out to young readers. If you have teenagers in your house, ask them to respond. I need to hear from them.

Do you folks really like Young Adults fiction, as it is today? Do these books speak to you? Do they create a world in which you want to spend a lot of time? Do the old crocks who write them really understand young people? What does it do for you, to read about persons having sex with vampires–dead bodies, you know–or other kinds of monsters?

I ask because I write books which I hope young readers will enjoy and find edifying, (Sly hint: they make great Christmas presents) without being soppy or patronizing. I can see that mine are very different from most of what’s out there–especially from most of the fantasy, which constitutes a big chunk of the teen market.

Having been young once, I have this notion that I’m still much the same person I was then, and that there isn’t that much difference between “young” and “old”–aside from what is emphasized as a marketing ploy.

Tell me if I’m wrong.


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