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Old 04-30-2012, 02:01 PM   #76
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I think there's a fine gradient between "trashy fun stuff" and popular novels that might not be lit'rary, but still a couple of steps above trash. I'm thinking about Nora Roberts, or Lois Bujold, or Terry Pratchett, or the Sharon Lee/Steve Miller Liaden stuff. It'll never win literary prizes, but I wouldn't call any of it trash. And at least PTerry always makes me think.
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:12 PM   #77
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Of course. But that does not mean that there is not thrashy fun stuff that is more thrashy and more fun than other trashy fun stuff. So it seems to me that you will probaly find trahsier and funnier stuff among the non-YA books.
It depends on your taste. But YA is just a genre category, not an indicator of quality/non-quality writing or variety/range overall.

Good and bad stuff for it exists in roughly the same proportion as for other categories and a prejudice against YA because it's got teen protagonists and is primarily aimed at younger readers is no more sensible than a prejudice against supernatural horror thrillers because they've got totally unrealistic monsters and are aimed at people looking to be briefly scared by unrealism.

Now, if you think the YA books are dumbing and writing down to you, then maybe there might be a point for not reading the ones which do, but it's just as much as a point as would apply to those hypothetical supernatural horror thrillers which also circle, arrow, and underline for the audience in every chapter the fact that oh noes, the super-creepy super-monster will get everyone in the end, abandon hope, all ye who enter its maw.

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I think there's a fine gradient between "trashy fun stuff" and popular novels that might not be lit'rary, but still a couple of steps above trash. I'm thinking about Nora Roberts, or Lois Bujold, or Terry Pratchett, or the Sharon Lee/Steve Miller Liaden stuff. It'll never win literary prizes, but I wouldn't call any of it trash.
But Sir Terry Pratchett does in fact have literary prizes (a Carnegie Medal for children's lit, and his OBE is for contributions to British literature). And so does Lois McMaster Bujold, within the fantasy literature field.

In any case, one man's trash is another man's treasure, viz the sci-fi/fantasy ghetto that people just love to sneer at even though some of the best and most societally-impactful works of modern literature are speculative fiction ones (1984, Fahrenheit 451, etc.), and several of the authors producing and getting acclaim for them keep insisting that since it doesn't have rocket ships in it, do you see any rocket ships in it, their precious works are Not!SyFy™.
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:36 PM   #78
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:45 PM   #79
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Betcha Joel Stein would never read Terry Pratchett - who writes some pretty good YA stuff himself.
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Old 04-30-2012, 03:37 PM   #80
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Old 04-30-2012, 03:37 PM   #81
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Now, if you think the YA books are dumbing and writing down to you, then maybe there might be a point for not reading the ones which do, but it's just as much as a point as would apply to those hypothetical supernatural horror thrillers which also circle, arrow, and underline for the audience in every chapter the fact that oh noes, the super-creepy super-monster will get everyone in the end, abandon hope, all ye who enter its maw.
Sure. My point was kind of empirical. If we are talking of a kind of book that have X that you are looking for to read it seems to me that if you look in the non-YA section you will find book with more of X than if you look in the YA section (especially if you randomly select a book). But I also think that YA introduces restrictions and more restrictions ought to lead to there being less of X (unless X is something that is characteristic for YA).

If we are talking about really good book than of course there are specific example of authors that can be considered to write for YA like Terry Pratchett and Diana Wynne Jones that just writes or wrote very good books on any scale.
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Old 04-30-2012, 03:42 PM   #82
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I have no idea what “The Hunger Games” is like. Maybe there are complicated shades of good and evil in each character. Maybe there are Pynchonesque turns of phrase. Maybe it delves into issues of identity, self-justification and anomie that would make David Foster Wallace proud. I don’t know because it’s a book for kids. I’ll read “The Hunger Games” when I finish the previous 3,000 years of fiction written for adults.
Wow. This is one of the most pompous articles I've read about YA lit, and I've read a ton of articles about how much YA lit sucks and how juvenile it is. Sure, a lot of YA is simple, genre crap. So is a lot of adult fiction. But I think the thing that pisses me off the most is the way he's deliberately dismissing a whole swathe of literature about which he admits he's completely ignorant, and then pats himself on the back for it. The Hunger Games does do a lot of those things (minus the Pynchonesque turns of phrase), though perhaps not perfectly and perhaps not as well as other before it have, as do other YA lit titles.

As others here have said, YA is a marketing category, not a genre/content label, and there's a lot of it that's just as deep and dark and complex and lyrical as stuff written for adults. A lot of it also has just as much swearing and sex, so that's a misconception I wish would go away as well. The biggest difference (at least when talking about genre fiction) is that the protagonists are pretty much guaranteed to be under the age of 20.

Read Gaiman, Susan Cooper, Diana Wynne Jones, Ann Rinaldi, Ursula LeGuin, Patricia Wrede, Judy Blume, Sarah Dessen, Scott Westerfield, Pratchett, Justine Larbalestier, David Levithan, and Sherman Alexi (many of whom write for adults as well as kids/teens); read any book that has ever been nominated for the Printz award (or the Newberry, or the Edwards, or the Morris) and then come back and try and tell me that all YA is juvenile, simplistic crap.
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Old 04-30-2012, 03:48 PM   #83
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This is awful. I can read whatever I choose. I had someone tell me once I couldnt shop at the Gap-the cuts were too youthful. I cannot believe what some people think is their business.
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Old 04-30-2012, 03:53 PM   #84
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Sure. My point was kind of empirical. If we are talking of a kind of book that have X that you are looking for to read it seems to me that if you look in the non-YA section you will find book with more of X than if you look in the YA section (especially if you randomly select a book). But I also think that YA introduces restrictions and more restrictions ought to lead to there being less of X (unless X is something that is characteristic for YA).
Every genre has its expected conventions and therefore restrictions, cf. Romance. Or murder mysteries. Some books work very well within those conventions, other books work very well by ignoring or transcending those conventions. Those limitations, such as they are, are no more confined to or representative of any one genre than any other.

Aside from hardcore sexual erotica*, there's actually very little content that would be specifically restricted by appearing/not-appearing in a YA story, although some subject matter just might not be very common. But there's nothing preventing it from being explored in the same depth as in an "adult" version.

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If we are talking about really good book than of course there are specific example of authors that can be considered to write for YA like Terry Pratchett and Diana Wynne Jones that just writes or wrote very good books on any scale.
Personally, I don't see how Diana Wynne Jones could be merely "considered to write for YA" when she built her entire career specifically on writing fantasies for children and teens and only rather late into it branched into writing a handful of "grown-up" fantasy books.

But quality books with wider-than-usual appeal can be found in any subgenre, and the notion that YA books are inherently worse at that than any other subgenres and that the good books are somehow exceptions that the good any-scale authors just happened to write in a YA fashion kind of smacks of the sci-fi ghetto of looking down on stuff for no good reason.

* Which doesn't appear in most grown-up books, anyway, so it's not exactly a pure age-restricted omission.
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Old 04-30-2012, 03:55 PM   #85
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Old 04-30-2012, 04:00 PM   #86
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I can't help but wonder if Catcher in the Rye, Huckleberry Finn and Lord of the Flies would be categorized as young adult if they were published today (since their protagonists are all young). Its really kind of insulting to both young people and older people. Somehow because I am in my forties, I can't be interested in a story about someone who is a teen (or younger), likewise, a teenager can't be interested in a story about a 40 something?

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Old 04-30-2012, 09:06 PM   #87
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I'm just happy that more people are reading now - I don't care if it is YA books or NY Times-approved literary gems. People shouldn't be made to feel that they have to apologize for their reading choices.

I heard, "Why are you wasting your eyes on those trashy novels", way too many times when I was a teenager and I got into Regency romances. The tables turned years later when I was an adult and my mother got into them and found out why I liked them, because she found that she liked them too.
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:43 PM   #88
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Why can't adults read YA?

First off right now I am reading "Shiver" a YA series. I am in my late 20s and the lady that writes the books are around the same age as me. I think that to say adults shouldn't read them, then they shouldn't write them either.

Stephanie Meyer said that the reason Twilight has a has such a good adult fan base, was because at first she was not writing for YA she was just writing it for herself.

Furthermore, I do not enjoy books where the characters use foul language and jump in bed every other page.

I love Hunger Games, I read the series in less than a month and I love Twilight, not because the are YA but because they are good stories.
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Old 05-01-2012, 12:13 AM   #89
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Ithink it was http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lloyd_Alexander, the author of The Chronicles of Prydain, who said that just because a book is meant to be readable by children, doesn't mean it has to be stupid.

said chronicles are btw. a wonderful entry point for high fantasy for the younger ones, and do nonintrusively teach a good pack of values without being sermon-ish. IMO
P.S.: Fantasy is often monomyth variant threads - I wouldn't stick too many age labels on such. Monomyth stories are as old as stories can be...
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Old 05-01-2012, 12:14 AM   #90
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It may be a way of stepping into the shoes of the characters that seems natural to me thus creepy when you are 40 something and they are 12 to 16. Books based on the more child like emotional responses ie Harry Potter are easier to understand. Emo teen love ie twilight is out and out creepy.

I have to admit I tried reading harry potter to my twins when they where 8, it was a total failure and we never finished the first book. I am not sure if it was my total lack of interest or just it was the end of the line for my kids wanting to be read to. My daughter is now an avid reader at 18 but did not start until she discovered twilight at 12. Until then she would only read books assigned for school. So I do have to like twilight for that. My son is not a reader tho he consumes text books hand over fist for uni. Nothing I could ever do could peak his interest in reading for pleasure beyond guiness book of record type things. The daughter hates not having time to read hence an ereader is top of her wish list so she can read on the way to and from uni. Her tastes at 18 tho are moving away from YA. She has tho returned to read the hunger game books after seeing the film. Her tastes are more anne rice style now. I think she is like me needing characters she can relate to and YA is something she is growing to old for.

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