One of today's entries at BuzzSugar is "Should Young Adult Authors Be Careful With Their Messages?" which stems from a discussion on Jezebel about the anti-feminist messages in the Twilight series. There's a poll included with the BuzzSugar entry, and as of the writing of this post it stands at 30% yes, 60% no, and 10% other.
My answer is "no." Not because I think teens shouldn't be exposed to a wide variety of ideas, but because I don't believe YA should be held to a different standard than adult literature. An author's job is to tell a story, not to send a message. If an author wants to send a message, I say go for it, but believe me, reviewers will notice and teen readers will notice even more if the book is didactic and meant to teach a lesson rather than to tell the main character's story. If we don't hold adult lit to the It Must Teach A Lesson standard, then YA and children's lit should be treated the same way. Fact is, not everyone needs the same lessons, or wants them. And what if those YA books teach teens a lesson their parents don't want them learning? Would that change a person's answer in BuzzSugar's poll from "yes" to no?" Also, the "teach a lesson" idea assumes that all readers would take the same lesson away from a book, but we all know that no two people ever read the same book.
This message brought to you by the incredibly preachy book I read yesterday. I got done with it and threw it in the trash. Yes, it was that awful.