Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Today we look at question #4 from the questions I answered for an MFA candidate concerning Young Adult Literature.

The question and links to the previous ones:

1. What does the term "young adult literature" mean to you as an author?

2. What do you believe makes a novel young adult?

3. What made you want to write a young adult novel (or market Eleanor, Celeste, and David as such)?

4. Do you believe young adult novels have literary value? How so or why not?

5. What do you believe the future of young adult literature entails?

This week:

4. Do you believe young adult novels have literary value? How so or why not?

Absolutely they have literary value. First, as art, it carries on the traditions of the art, whether it likes it or not. Second, and this is probably the most realistic and far reaching argument, young adult books are being read. Love it or hate it Stephanie Myer's Twilight cannot be ignored as a cultural artifact. Harry Potter is now ingrained in our western consciousness more than Dickens’ Oliver Twist (who was thought of as trashy throw-away literature in his time, by the way).

One of the arguments of literary value must be an artifact’s cultural impact. Young Adult is ruling this today. Though I’ll grant that it’s the films that are imprinting on the masses more than the books, the books have not been ignored and are read even by people who generally don’t read. Young adult books lead the way here. Since young adults read, and their minds are impressionable, the impact of YA books on the society cannot be downplayed or ignored for it’s influence there. Add to this the multi-media access to YA stories and it’s a perfect storm of influence in American culture. These are the heroes of our time. All respect to Jonathan Franzen, but his characters have nothing on Katniss Everdeen for longevity or impact.

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