Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sex and the YA

As you may know if you've read my #amazonfail post, I get very, very angry if someone tries to censor books in any way, which for me includes saying that if someone is to read something (say, Harry Potter), then one is of a lesser moral standard (say, demonic) than the one who doesn't read the damn thing. If that makes any sense.

So, naturally, I was kinda pissed off when I read the blog post by this fabulous up-and-coming author, 'Quinn'. Quinn is the second-place winner of a competition for unpublished authors, and the prize is a professional critique on his first 10 pages. How cool is that!?

Unfortunately, he has gotten a lot of harsh comments from people in the comment section under the post that announced these winners, because, well, his novel starts with a sex scene. And there's talk about a right breast being seen and the sudden tightness of the boy's jeans in the crotch area. You know, an erection. Apparently, the people who commented would never give this sort of YA books to their teenagers to read, which I guess is okay, since different parents parent differently (though I can bet my own right man-breast that your teenagers have gone further than simply feeling the tightness in their pants from time to time, but whatever).

The problem here is that they feel like they have the right to comment under the post announcing Quinn's victory (and there was a judge, I mean, he didn't just get it randomly) to give their two cents about why they think he shouldn't have got it. I mean, who cares about your f-ing standards!? How dare you assume that your standards and no-one else's should be the norm?

Head over to the post I'm talking about and read the winning paragraph (which I think is sexy, non-exploitative, non-pornographic, as well as wonderfully written), as well as the comments. And obviously, let me know what you think - am I overreacting? What do you expect to read in your YA books? Should there be a standard? Did you blush when Edward and Bella, you know, did it?

Finally, congratulations to Quinn and don't let these people rain on your parade!


Amanda said...

People can be such prudes. It's ridiculous.

Nikola said...

I knew you'd respond to this one Amanda! :))

And yes, my thoughts exactly.

Miss Good on Paper said...

This is a really interesting discussion. While I don't read as much YA, I think that a certain amount of sensuality is expected. Right? Either way, I'm glad you responded to this with such passion. I'm following now.


-Miss GOP

Jenny Girl said...

I'm kinda sort of torn. First off, I wouldn't rip someone who just won a contest on the announcement of the winning. Bad form.

Second, I'm not a parent, but I don't think this is that bad or too sexy. Maybe people get upset because YA could be read by 12 yr olds and they probably shouldn't be reading this yet. However, isn't that the norm nowadays? If you raise your kids right, you have to eventually let them leave the nest and experience life. This is life. I read plenty of things I shouldn't have at a younf age, and I turned out ok :)

People nowadays are too quick to judge and be moral according to their standards. Democracy people. Monitor your kids but leave mine out of it. Sorry for the ramble.

Ms. Yingling said...

Look at it from my point of view. If your middle school librarian had handed you Quinn's book and said it was great, wouldn't that have been a little... Creepy? Since I personally recommend books to my students, I would be uncomfortable handing them something like that, so it does limit what I purchase.

Nikola said...

I completely agree there are certain audiences that cannot be comfortable with just any level of maturity, but I just don't see it as "creepy".. Not every book published can be of the same level of maturity. And let's be honest here, the Twilight books (arguably the most widely read YA books today) are all about lust, only there are not-so-clever metaphors clouding the fact.