"In a time when teens are confronted with difficult issues (no longer do we not discuss school violence, war, famine, global warming, terrorism, pandemics, and so forth with kids), YA literature discusses difficult topics with a frankness that isn't about didacticism so much as honesty; that isn't about lecturing so much as exploring; that isn't about answers so much as questions."We write YA literature at an exciting time. The genre has changed and become stronger within recent years, and we have greater freedom regarding topics and characters. According to Teri Lesesne, "Books do more now than present characters that break through the stereotypes; plots can shatter stereotypical ideas and portrayals of prom, peer pressure, drunken driving, anorexia and other subjects." We are writing more and more about topics that had once been ignored or banned. How cool is that?
Some of the breakout novels listed by Lesesne include:
Skin by Adrienne Vrettos - about anorexia
Cruise Control, Stuck in Neutral, and Inside Out by Terry Trueman - about illness and disease
Rules by Cynthia Lord - deals with autism
Breathing Underwater and Diva by Alex Flinn - deal with abusive relationships and the post break-up recovery
Cut by Patricia McCormick - about self-inflicted cutting
Sold by Patricia McCormick - about a 12-year-old girl sold into sexual servitude Tangerine by Edward Bloor and Firegirl by Tony Abbot - both deal with handicaps Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan and Luna by Julie Anne Peters - both deal with real-world sexual orientations
We could all add titles to that list. Ellen Hopkins immediately comes to my mind. The point is that this is a wonderful time to be writing. Today, take a moment to appreciate the freedom we now have as writers. Take a moment to appreciate your genre.
Lesesne says it best: "The times, well, they are a-changin', and this new generation of YA literature does indeed reflect the changes of teens and the times."