Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Garden of Eden of literature

So check out this great article by Margo Rabb about the blurred lines between YA and adult books, and about the stigma that's still attached to being published as YA: I'm Y.A., and I'm O.K. (It was in the New York Times last year, but I was only just alerted to it.)

Like many, I find myself frequently defending my own interest in the genre, especially since I really seem to have no excuse—I'm not a teacher, or a librarian, or a writer, or a publisher, or a parent of teens. I'm just a fan! A while back I actually decided that I'd better try my hand at writing a YA book myself mainly so people would stop looking at me strangely when I talked about my little hobby (it didn't go well..) But some people just don't know what they're missing—it's not all Sweet Valley High and and problem novels (not that there's anything wrong with that), and it's cool to have gotten in on the ground floor of what's become about the hottest category in publishing.

Thanks for the heads up, Rebecca! (Who found a post about it on


  1. Hey Gretchen,
    Thanks for linking to my essay--it's cool that it's still being talked about almost a year after it came out!

    By the way, for the record, I'm thrilled to be a part of the YA genre-- I have a new YA novel coming out next year ( a lot of people have misinterpreted the essay, mistaking my surprise that my book sold as YA for disappointment. It wasn't disappointment, but it was a real surprise, since I'd really thought it was an adult book.)

    I have to say even after doing all that research (I did almost 30 interviews for the piece) and thinking and talking about it for a year, I'm still fascinated by the "What is a YA" topic. In fact my friend Varian Johnson (an amazing YA author!) and I were talking about this subject for hours the other night...we were discussing how Sherman Alexie doesn't consider his novel Flight as YA at all (though it made the BBYA list.) How everyone defines the genre differently is incredibly fascinating to me still.

  2. Oops--I meant to leave the above comment on the grow wings blog that you linked from (I thought some people in the comments section there were misinterpreting the essay a little bit.) I didn't mean to get so in-depth in response to your post! Sorry about that. (Note to self: must not post comments to blogs while simultaneously watching 2 yr old daughter...)

    To your post I just wanted to say, thank you for the kind words! And yes, down with the stigma! I really think it is getting a little better in many circles (though we still have a ways to go...)