Are you a proud reader of YA? I am! I mean, I read other things too. Graphic novels. Cat care handbooks. Sewing manuals. But I haven't had to defend any of those, really.
Last October, I wrote a blog post called YA Shame and Stigma. It was a reaction to some comments Warm Bodies author Isaac Marion wrote on his Facebook wall. (Before you balk, I did ask him for permission to quote--I did not set out to provoke him, just to analyze his opinion and engage a community dialogue.) The post just passed 6,000 views yesterday, which is... mindboggling to me. Thank you all for reading and sharing your opinions.
I have been thinking about it a lot this week because
1) Warm Bodies hits movie theaters this weekend! AAAAAAAA! I can't wait. I'm sitting here hitting refresh on the movie theater's website every couple of hours to see if they've posted movie times yet. I'm jealous of Thuy because she's already seen it twice and it's not even out until Feb 1. I think I might be disproportionately excited...
2) The Youth Media awards were announced today, ushering a new crop of awesome books, including YA novels, to the fore. (Which Isaac will probably not read either, but, you know, he's busy writing a prequel and sequels to Warm Bodies.) Also, Tamora Pierce, who commented on the original post, won the Margaret A. Edwards award, and now I really really want to go to ALA Annual. (Another blog post about that coming up soon.)
3) Because of the movie release, a lot of people are finding the original "YA Shame and Stigma" post again, which is awesome; however a lot of people are also saying "Ugh! Now I don't want to read Warm Bodies, because of what he said about YA, which I love so much I want to marry it." And to that I say, whoa, Nelly!
Read widely and read what you want, but I think deciding not to read Warm Bodies for that reason also follows the same narrow line of thinking people apply to not reading YA. Decide not to read it because zombies freak you out--ok, fair enough. I don't read realistic fiction about terrorism for the same reason. Perhaps you don't like romance and prefer, instead, the biography of a fish. That's cool, too. But just think: the author is not the book. You may like him, you might not, but the bottom line is, I really liked his book and I recommend it highly. You may be missing out on a book you'll like by deciding to skip it. Just maybe!
I like to think I'm not so prejudiced that I'd refuse to read a book because I think, *blanket assumption* all books of that label are rubbish. (Except the Fifty Shades books, and only because it's somewhat difficult to get "in the mood" when I'm laughing so hard that I can't read through the tears in my eyes. Exception: the chicken cookbook parody, which gets me in the mood for food.)
The point of all this, if I can underline, italicize, and bold it all at once is, If you're lucky enough to live in a free country, read what you like--there are books of all kinds because there are people of all kinds. Recommending your favorite books does not mean you have to deprecate someone else's. *gets off soapbox*
4) I've read so many other reader responses to the topic and want to share them with you. There are lots of possible responses, and none of us is really wrong or right, I think. There is just our opinion, and then there's someone else's. What is YA and why should we read it? So many variations. I agree with some, but not all of these; still, I think they're all pretty valuable as part of the dialogue.
If I missed your post, please leave a link in the comments and I'll add it to the list.
Teen Librarian's Toolbox: Why YA? (again) Fear & Loathing in YA Literature
Muteswann: Why I Read Crime Fiction and Teen/YA Novels
Bookshelvers Anonymous: The New Adult Category Revisited (Ah, the NA category... I'm flip-flopping on this topic still. I first said Nay but I think I'm now a very cautious Yea?)
Nick Hornby via RJ Anderson via Sarah Rees Brennan (This is what happens on Tumblr.)
Word for Teens: YA shame & stigma, what we're buying and why I want to go into the industry
YABliss: YA in Theaters
Reading Nook: Book & Blog News
WhatchYAreading Podcast: Do Not Read the Madness Underneath (18:42 onward... I actually have some issues with this, not with what they say about YA or Isaac Marion, but about the price of books. But, you know, they probably didn't work in a bookshop for 13 years.)
Rachel Hartman: I'm off to Calgary (Congrats on your Morris Award, Rachel!)
Jessica Corra: The Great YA Debate (I posted a comment but it didn't get published. I don't remember what I said.)
Cuddlebuggery: Buzz Worthy News: 15 Oct 2012
The Readventurer: Odds & Ends on the Web: October 13th Edition
Book a Week: Let's Cut the Shit: "Young Adult" is Patently Incorrect
Pass the Chiclets: Isaac Marion and his view of YA as a ridiculous, pointless category
If you have links to YA reviewers' posts about Warm Bodies, which, let's face it, really crack me up especially when they gush about what a great book it is, add them to the linky. (I'm lookin' at you, TeenLitRocks. You totally give me the giggles.) I feel like the best "revenge" is to get as many as possible YA readers to read and enjoy Warm Bodies. I know, I'm backwards like that.
If you, like me, are freezing from the toes up and need to get the circulation pumping in your extremities, read this interview from February 2012 or another from December 2012. Grrr! Arrgh! >.< I want to like you, Isaac, but you're making it tough.
And now, because I don't want to think about this any more this week, I'm going to watch Murdoch Mysteries, which has nothing to do with YA (unless you count the episode "Bloodlust", in which some boarding school girls go gaga over some novel written by Bram Stoker).