Y.A. is A.O.K., O.K.? There’s an unfortunate,...

Mon, 07/21/2008 - 2:27pm -- JDavanza

Y.A. is A.O.K., O.K.?

There’s an unfortunate, condescending, knee-jerk reaction to young adult literature out there in the world. People with this attitude believe books written for teen readers lack style and sophistication.

But take a look at Margo Rabb’s recent essay in the New York Times, I’m Y.A., and I’m O.K. (may require login). I’m hoping it will change a few minds.

To wit:

Many adults don’t realize how much the Y.A. genre has changed since their days of reading teenage romances and formulaic novels. “A lot of people have no idea that right now Y.A. is the Garden of Eden of literature,” said Sherman Alexie, whose first Y.A. novel, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” won the National Book Award for young people’s literature last year. Even the prestige of that award didn’t make him impervious to the stigma. “Some acquaintances felt I was dumbing down,” Alexie said in a phone interview. “One person asked me, ‘Wouldn’t you have rather won the National Book Award for an adult, serious work?’ I thought I’d been condescended to as an Indian — that was nothing compared to the condescension for writing Y.A.”


photo credit: cindiann

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