When I got home from vacation, I found that two of my listservs were buzzing about Anita Silvey's article The Unreal Deal, which appeared in School Library Journal.
Silvey believes that teen readers are moving away from realistic problem books to genre fiction. I don't think genre fiction is any new discovery for teenagers. Young people have been reading Tolkien for decades. And in days of old young people got their fix of mystery and romance from writers like Agatha Christie and Georgette Heyer. As someone at one of the listservs pointed out, publishers publishing genre books specifically for teenagers may be new, but teenagers reading genre is not.
Silvey also says that Catcher in the Rye was the prototype for young adult novels. I definitely agree that it was the prototype for one kind of young adult novel. I wonder, though, whether Catcher was published as YA. I was under the impression that it wasn't. That would make the shadow it casts in YA all the more interesting.
Silvey is the author of 500 Great Books for Teens, which was just released by Houghton Mifflin.