Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What is YA Literature? Or, Read What You Like

The other day I finished reading A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith. As I read, I couldn't help but think of the recent criticism of YA by Ruth Graham, "Read whatever you want. But you should feel embarrassed when what you're reading was written for children." If you haven't yet read her article, it's here: Against YA

I couldn't help but wonder what classics besides A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN might be looked down on if they had been categorized as YA. Graham seems to make a distinction between work written about teens and for them, but is there really a difference? I write what I like. It happens to be about teens. Agents, editors, publishers, and booksellers tell me what market they will sell my work into. I never set out to write YA literature. I set out to write for me. In one age it might have been classified as science fiction, today, the tendency is to label it YA dystopian. To me it doesn't matter.

Read whatever you want, and never be embarrassed about what.

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