Monday, August 9, 2010

NY TIMES "The Kids' Books Are All Right"

Here’s a link to a recent NY Times article on adults reading YA, The Kids' Books Are All Right (odd that the title references the recent movie with Julianne Moore and Annette Benning, the connection is lost on me, though the movie was okay, albeit overrated). Anyway, of course, this is nothing new to us, but I forget that other adults are not so aware of the quality and pleasure of YA. Do we thank Hunger Games, as we thanked Harry Potter years ago for making our marginalized field a little less marginalized? I have mixed feelings about this, but that must explain why one of my favorite quotes from the article is:
“Y.A. may also pierce the jadedness and cynicism of our adult selves.”

Other quotes that hit the mark and make me remember why I’ve always loved writing and reading YA:
“I like the way adolescent emotions are rawer, less canned.” Darcy Steinke, (adult) novelist.

“A lot of contemporary adult literature is characterized by a real distrust of plot,” Grossman said. “I think young adult fiction is one of the few areas of literature right now where storytelling really thrives.” Lev Grossman, book critic.

Since all is still quiet on the writing/publishing and Inkpot front you can always go get in line for the third Suzanne Collins’ novel and read this while you wait.


  1. Philip Pullman said something along the same lines -- something like adult books have to act all sophisticated and pretend that plot doesn't even exist (a kind of pretentiousness, as far as I'm concerned) but children's books are not afraid to deal with plot and therefore can deal with the really big issues. I have an idea that he was in part being Mr. Firebrand, but at the same time he does have a point.

    I'm trying not to speed up time to get to August 24th when Mockingjay comes out. oh boy oh boy!

  2. Whoops! That was me using my husband's account!


  3. Lisa, this is a terrific article. Fascinating how many in the adult publishing field are reading and even participating in book discussion groups focused on kids' books. Yes.

  4. I did not think the movie overrated, BTW. I was quite taken with the down to earth portrayal of families and marriage. You know, how relationships are like a marathon and all that. Sounds like writing a book.

  5. Except most of the books/authors mentioned in the article aren't true YA, they're middle grade. Seems to me there's plenty of cynicism in YA, e.g. "Gossip Girl" and all her recent clones.