Saturday, December 6, 2008

I am such a snob

I find myself faced with a dilemma. I've just discovered a book award that is perfectly legitimate, and has a young adult category, but I absolutely do not want to start tracking it: It's the Rita Award for Best Young Adult Romance, awarded by the Romance Writers of America.

There's nothing wrong with genre awards of course, and every genre has it's own standards that may or may not be the same as the standards of the more high-brow literary awards. In this case, the judging guidelines seem astonishingly simple: "In this category, the love story is an important element of the novel, and the end of the book is emotionally satisfying and optimistic." Fair enough I suppose, but oh my god, in 1992 the Rita went to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep by Lurlene McDaniel (!). Yes, Lurlene McDaniel, author of many, many tearjerkers about disease-ridden kids with titles such as Too Young to Die, Six Months to Live, Don't Die My Love. And so on.

Now, when I was an actual pre-adolescent I devoured her books, sobbing my way through them. They were almost as great as Sweet Valley High. The leukemia-stricken girl who goes to cancer camp and eventually goes into remission but her best cancer friend dies? Heartbreaking! The girl who collapses due to diabetic shock at school and is caught by the beautiful boy who later falls in love with her in the hospital? Swoon-inducing! I read and re-read them all, and diagnosed myself with many diseases. But, come on. Do I have to include this sort of thing in my comprehensive database of award-winning literature?

Well, yes. I guess I do if comprehensiveness is my goal. So that's that. I'll get to work on it, and on the positive side, this year's winner is the quite respectable Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr.

No comments:

Post a Comment