Friday, May 1, 2009

Dirty books done dirt cheap

There's been a fair amount of YA lit pearl-clutching in the media this week. Amid all the "Twilight isn't good for girls" whining, I must turn your attention to the clutchiest of all clutching, from the first name in second-rate journalism, the New York Post.

In the Post, Andrea Peyser laments the publication of Jake Wizner's latest YA novel, Castration Celebration: Dirty Teen Tale is a Cut Below. As one who's actually read Castration Celebration, it is my educated guess that Ms Peyser read the first ten pages and the last ten pages, then made haste to her keyboard to lament the state of today's YA publications. Oh yes, teens have all sorts of deviant sex, she knows, but what is it doing in I want to know why YA librarians are struggling to keep their jobs, but Ms Peyser got paid to write a review of a YA novel she didn't even read all the way through. Had she bothered to do so, she'd know that CC is an over-the-top modern melodrama, part script and part romance, and the amount of actual sex in the book is, by my recall, almost nil. (There might be a sex scene near the end, but if there is, I've forgotten it.) Buried in all the silly talk of castration are teens trying to deal with hormonal insanity, family breakups and the loss of friends. These same teens who write castration plays also go above and beyond their call of duty to support a friend in need. Not that Ms Peyser would know that, of course; it happens in the middle of the book. Oh, and taking a potshot at Jake Wizner? NOT ON. Authors are not their books.

If you want the weekend edition of the Dumb Statements About YA Lit Tribune, go here: Did You Notice The Difference Between Classic Young Adult Books And New Young Adult Books? from the ill-constructed and poorly written Gossip in the City. Those darn YA books just don't have good messages anymore! I mean, really, it's simply impossible to find a book about discovering who you are through travel, or loyalty and talent. And you'll never, ever find literary books about science and religion, heck no.

Honestly, are these people visiting the same bookstores I am? Because if all you see in a teen section is The Clique (and I enjoy the Clique books!), you're either willfully blind or your bookstore needs new management.

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