Thursday, February 12, 2015

YA's PG-13 Misconception

The other day I was listening to the audio book of Kendare Blake's ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD. Within the first two chapters I heard the "F" bomb. Twice.

It was wonderful.

But I found myself double-checking that the book was indeed a YA. For the record, it is Young Adult. And shame on me for thinking just because a book has a certain four-letter word it suddenly becomes Adult.

YA is not the literary equivalent of a PG-13 movie. This is something I had a misconception of. Young Adult fiction is defined that way simply because the perspective of the narrative and main characters is that of an adolescent. That's it.

It would be ignorant to assume teenagers don't swear. It would also be naive to think some don't occasionally smoke, drink, have sex, take illicit drugs, make mistakes, have an opinion.

They are human aren't they?

The wonderful thing about literature over film is that there isn't too much of a box to be cramped by. Each of our experiences with a book, while shared in regards to the plot, is completely unique for every one of us.

Whether it's the fantastically grotesque aftermath of a monster attack in Rick Yancey's THE MONSTRUMOLOGIST or the aforementioned Kendare Blake novel, YA doesn't mean authors should back down from the way they intend to tell their stories. Even though it's all lies in the end, truth resonates still. Readers expect as much. Readers deserve as much.


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