Saturday, July 26, 2008

Once Again, What Is YA Lit?

Evidently Margo Rabb's NYTimes essay I'm Y.A., and I'm O.K has received responses regarding what an author Margo interviewed describes as "condescension towards Y.A. writing in the literary world." Personally, I'm far more interested in what Margo says about the confusion in the publishing world about what is YA and what is adult literature. She quotes Michael Cart as saying, "The line between Y.A. and adult has become almost transparent...These days, what makes a book Y.A. is not so much what makes it as who makes it — and the ‘who’ is the marketing department." Peter Cameron told her "The line [between YA and adult fiction] has completely blurred."

The publishing world may be confused about just what Y.A. is, but people in the children's literature field have given the matter some thought and tried to pin it down. Patty Campbell wrote on the subject in The Horn Book back in 2003 and again in 2004.

Personally, I think some kind of definition ought to be agreed upon or YA could just disappear altogether, absorbed into adult fiction. While I'm sure there are many who would believe that to be a very good thing, I'm not one of them. Yes, every fifteen year old will one day be fifty. But while she's fifteen, she should be able to read about others like herself, just as her elders do.

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