Did you know that ELEANOR & PARK, SOME GIRLS ARE, and THIS ONE SUMMER have all been banned or challenged? Censorship is happening and it is infringing on the right of readers. Good thing librarians fight for our fREADdom! Banned Books Week (Sept 23-29) is happening now and it’s the perfect time to re-read and recommend all […]
Happy Banned Books Week! This year’s theme is Young Adult fiction, and what better time to have Courtney Summers’s SOME GIRLS ARE challenged?! A South Carolina high school pulled the book off its freshman summer reading list after a parent complained about the content; the response from librarians and readers across the country against this action […]
We’re hopelessly devoted to Courtney Summers. We’ve been fans of her raw and realistic teen fiction since the very beginning. We were heartbroken by “Perfect” Parker Fadley’s shame spiral in CRACKED UP TO BE, watched the Fearsome Fivesome crumble in SOME GIRLS ARE, mourned the loss of Eddie Reeves’s father in FALL FOR ANYTHING and […]
I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who logged into Twitter over the weekend to find a new trend dominating the bookish conversations: #YASaves. I don't read many Young Adult novels, but I went ahead and read the desputed article on how YA has become too dark, I also read a rebuttal or two, then I decided to read some YA.
Back when I was reading YA regularly, I'll admit, it wasn't contemporary. I was reading YA of the wizards, knights, and spaceships variety. But this time I picked up something from 21st Century Earth, Courtney Summers' FALL FOR ANYTHING, in which our protagonist, Eddie, is coping (and sometimes not coping) with her father's suicide. Is this story dark? Yes. Is it written with care, sensitivity, honesty, and confidence that things can get better for Eddie? Absolutely.
As I read, three things became very clear to me very fast:
1. It's easy to forget that the day-to-day life of a teenager is erratic, immediate, frustrating, and thrilling without additional adversity.
2. Tragedy and abuse are isolating. Only fellow teenagers can truly empathize with highly-visceral reactions to difficulty, but they may not know how to empathize with tragedy. Books offer a non confrontational form of support, normality, and a way to see past the confusion to the healing.
3. YA books dealing with issues like grief, self-harm, substance abuse, domestic violence, bullying and so on are invaluable tools for adults trying to understand someone younger dealing with difficult issues.
Sure, sometimes in YA the death of a parent is replaced with the death of a wizard guardian or substance abuse is told as addiction to time-traveling, but regardless of genre, the issues and the emotions are the same. These stories offer empathy, compassion, understanding, and shed light on difficult issues.
If you feel inspired to do some reading and decide for yourself whether dark issues in YA are helpful or harmful, I have a few authors to suggest:
I am pleased to announce that the following 2 titles received the 2011 Alex Award from the Young Adult Library Services Association:
Courtney Summers' Some Girls Are made the 2011 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers TOP TEN list and the Best Fiction for Young Adults list.[...]