At the beginning of last month, Slate author Ruth Graham published the article “Against YA,” which counters the recent popularity of YA novels and their movie adaptations. Graham writes,
Let’s set aside the transparently trashy stuff like Divergent and Twilight, which no one defends as serious literature. I’m talking about the genre the publishing industry calls “realistic fiction.” These are the books, like The Fault in Our Stars, that are about real teens doing real things, and that rise and fall not only on the strength of their stories but, theoretically, on the quality of their writing. These are the books that could plausibly be said to be replacing literary fiction in the lives of their adult readers. And that’s a shame.
I think Graham’s perspective starts an interesting discussion. It certainly garnered a lot of negative attention from the legions of YA adult readers out there (myself happily in that category)! Essentially, it brings up the age-old argument of what constitutes “real” literature. Can a happy ending, or a “satisfying” ending, as Graham calls it, capture any essential truths about reality? Moreover, is there literature that is only really appropriate for a specific age group, and which becomes irrelevant upon aging out?
Here is an article defending YA in response to Graham’s piece entitled, “Slate is Wrong,” to involve you in the conversation.
What do you, dear readers, think? Feel free to post your comments!