There doesn't seem to be much in the way of a support group for YA fiction. I mean, the readers are there, obviously, and they are voracious readers with an unquenchable thirst for YA, but these folks also seem to not have much of a say when it comes to defending YA from the critics. Sure, they can cry and throw a fit all they want, but when it comes down to it, they aren't really doing much in the way of defending YA from what I see as unfair criticism.
Much like science fiction, YA is a serious genre. I don't understand how we can laugh it off as frivolity one moment, and then have a rectal fit in another when a work decides to talk about sex or drugs. Perhaps this is all a way for us to ignore what YA fiction is really offering. YA is, after all, mean for teenagers, and teenagers really do go through a lot of sh*t. They experience sexual awakening, growth, rejection, confusion, drugs, etc. It all sort of hits them at once. Let's face it, teenagers know a lot more about sex and drugs today than most of us did when we were that age. Even I can admit that and I'm not so far removed from the new generation of teenagers as others (being only 25 and all). It seems silly to get upset over the content of a book that probably wouldn't even surprise a teenager anyway.
Obviously there's a lot of YA that is nothing short of fluff--literature that has little to offer in the way of serious discussion about growing up, about life and reality. We can't keep teenagers in bubble anymore, no matter how hard we try. I've always considered high school to be a transitional period into the real world for most kids. There they begin to face some of the harsh realities that make up the world as it really is.
But critics and academics are largely avoiding this discussion, it seems. They all want to pass off YA as fluff, even the stuff that happens to be more than fluff--more, shall we say, literary (whatever that means these days).
So, perhaps we need a support group for YA, a community of folks willing to give YA the attention it deserves--not necessarily in the sense of trying to sell books or make people see that it is good stuff, but in the sense that we try to point out its importance to teenage readers and literature as a whole. Or is there one already out there? Where's our YAL(ns)A (Young Adult Literature not-so-Anonymous)?
What do you all think about YA? Do you dislike it? Why? Do you hold the same views as those that pass off YA as fluff? Do you love YA? Leave a comment and tell me what you think about all this.