Basically, if you read the article, it attacks the Young Adult culture written into the popular teen books of today. It's no doubting that the YA Paranormal Romance section has exploded with books since the popularity of Twilight, but what they should really be asking themselves is why?
In my opinion, it's not the fault of the teen or the writer, but the fault of the economy and world. In down times, adults are faced with more stress and unfortunately they bring that home with them, ripening the already volatile and uncertain lives of our teens. If struggling to fit into High School isn't enough, there's the ugly truth of what to expect of their futures. Adults with degrees from top universities are having a hard time finding jobs, how does our youth expect to find their niche when it comes time? Then there's the reality of the forclosure market. Many American families are dealing with this and teens simply refuse to adapt to the change.
In my opinion, Contemporary Young Adult Fiction is actually trying to help by relating. Sure, there is a lot of violence, abuse, and horrifying overtones in our books these days, but that's because we are reaching out to a youth inundated with the real horrors of it in their everyday life. What The Wall Street Journal forgot to address was the heroes and heroins of the story that teach us how to overcome this adversity, how to deal with the pain and despair.
I personally can reflect on the fact that the novel Go Ask Alice changed my life as a teen. I wish there had been more dark novels like it. In High School I dealt with the loss of a boyfriend, but in a world where death wasn't dealt with at all, I was left in utter darkness. Books like the ones I write today are finally helping me to face these fears and struggles and realize that life is worth living--ten years too late.
Another fan of mine, in her mid-twenties, also read my Feather Book Series only to realize that she was in a bad, loveless marriage. As a fan of mine on Facebook, I can say with confidence that she took the leap to get away and is happier than ever and in the deepest love of her life with a new man, "Her Edgar," she tells me. Her story touched me so deeply, I published her poem in my latest book, Knight Angels: Book One:
By Tessa Rei
Your face blinds me from the truth that fallows
That wretched, annoying, nagging truth that swallows
Swallows me whole in its dark mouth as I fighting for air
Searching everywhere for the way out but finding it nowhere,
Blind in this colorless monster of guilt I see your face
Pulling myself closer to you as I pick up this shameful pace
I’m in this lonely pit with or without you, and there is no sound
Only this shit in my blasted head spinning all around
I call out to you; oh please can you hear me?
Echoes in this darkness are all I hear, nothing is what I see …
Placing my hands in front of me to brace my fall
Calling out to you again but hearing nothing at all
I scream as long as these lungs will hold this breath
Feeling something beneath me break, I’m falling closer to death
I will remain here dying until I find you
This truth is killing me, why? What will I—or can I do?
As my last breath escapes me there is a comforting voice
Hello … it’s you … now you have left me with no choice
I cry out quietly for you once more
Opening my eyes I can see you more colorful than before …
It's not that teens are darker than they were before, it's just that they're finally lashing out about it. Teens have learned to deal with their depression in a healthier way than bottling it up. If reading a dark YA novel is their way of doing that, then I say that's far better than turning to drugs, alcohol, or self-mutilation. Reading about it helps them to see and live the pain of the character, ultimately encouraging them not to do it as the character almost always learns to overcome. Many of us, like the 46 year old mother-of-three in the The Wall Street Journal article have forgotten what it's like to be a teen.
The problem here is that parents are just looking for another thing to blame for a lack of parenting. It shouldn't matter what your child reads, watches on TV, or is exposed to. No matter how hard we try, we aren't going to be able to protect them from everything--they will always find a way to watch it or do it behind your back. Trust me. I know I did. The best approach in this case is to address the child and their problems directly. Take time out of your day to make sure they feel secure and loved. Take time to notice if they're slipping into depression, using drugs, or sneaking alcohol. We live in an entitled world where it's easier to blame than accept blame onto yourself.
Get over it! Be the parent!
These books do nothing but teach our youth how to overcome pain, depression, and evil. It's the state of the economy and the mindset of the adult culture that is to blame--just switch on Glenn Beck on CNBC for a few minutes and tell me that's not depressing--and until it gets better, darkness and our personal demons are going to be something we all deal with as we always have, just not so outwardly.
YA hopes to help that. YA hopes to give teens a light in the darkness and relate to them in a time when they need our support and understanding more than ever.
If you support YA reads, yell it out on Twitter using the topic #YAsaves