How YA Lit Gets a Bad Name

f-lia-blockA friend of mine attended an author event recently. Jodi Picoult was speaking.
My friend, a teen librarian, said that Picoult mentioned that she had a 13-year-old daughter and she didn’t want her reading YA… that YA novels were covered with unclothed girls (or something like that).
When I heard this, I felt really irritated. I couldn’t think of any unclothed girls on YA book jackets. And I look at a lot of books!
Girls may be wearing suggestive clothing (maybe) on some of the series titles, like Celebutantes and Gossip Girls. But trash a whole body of literature for a couple of series?
Blood Roses by Francesca Lia Block (Joanna Cotler 2008) is the only YA novel I could find, from all of 2008, on which a woman is without clothing. And I’ll bet most people wouldn’t even notice that.
I wish that authors of books for adults would read a few YA books before they toss around criticisms that betray the fact that they really know nothing about them.

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10 Responses to “How YA Lit Gets a Bad Name”

  1. teacherninja Says:

    Thank you! The hasty generalization rears its ugly head. Of course I would probably classify Piccoult as a B-grade writer of depressive Oprah-wannabe titles, but that would be unfair since I haven’t read any of them.

  2. Again, a whole genre dismissed based on a fleeting glance at a B & N endcap.

  3. That IS irritating. And so disappointing.

  4. What I find interesting is that Picoult has a lot of teen fans, and a number of her books could be considered YA, except she throws in an adult voice. But she also writes first person teen voice. She obviously hasn’t read YA, the quality books blow her away (and I used to like her but all her books started sounding the same).

  5. lol @ teacherninja. A lot of people have stopped reading Picoult at the bookstore I work at her new books been in the store for a week now and have yet to sell a copy and its on sale. Though I’ve been off the last 3 days so maybe one has sold. You’d think an author would know better than to dismiss all of YA lit.especially an author who’s work has probably been dismissed by other authors.

  6. I wholeheartedly agree that is extremely disappointing and aggravating to have someone, a published author no less, publicly denounce an entire genre or classification of books! Has she read anything in a Teen or YA section in a library?? As someone else previously stated, several of her books would even be found there if she took the time to look!! This is why we Teen Librarians, or booksellers, or just avid book LOVERS, have a hard time selling these books, not just to parents, but also to the TEENS! If they hear someone famous stating that the books found in a Teen Section at the library are trash, do you think they’re even going to look for themselves?
    GRRRR….Someone should send her some of the newest YALSA Top 10 books with a note saying, “Read Me! P.S. – Notice the lack of nudity on these covers?”

  7. Grrr. This is too aggravating to comment on, especially as I just finished reading my first ever (and, um, probably last — not because of this post, however) Jodi Picoult novel. Whose cover featured two young girls in less clothing than most YA novels.

    I had to stick my head in, though, not to grumble over yet another dismissal of YA, but because I’d never seen that Block cover before and it’s pretty freakin’ gorgeous.

  8. I never noticed that it was a naked body. Even when I saw it here I did not notice until it was pointed out.

    I have never read Jodi Picoult despite all the people who tell me how great she is, but I know that many YAs read her even though she is catagorized as Adult. I wonder what she thinks about this.

  9. Gill Avila Says:

    The cover looks like a stepped-on pizza. i can’t even figure out what the title is. Something about crushing boys???

  10. stirling bennett Says:

    She doesn’t want her teenage daughter reading YA because of inappropriateness…I wonder what she’d rather her be reading? Adult fiction? Because there’s no chance of her stumbling across anything above her maturity level there…right?!

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