Congratulations to Marsha Sigman for winning Monday's Interview Packet! Marsha, shoot me an email at muchlanguage (at) gmail (dot) com, with a mailing address. :)
On a joint blog, Melissa Mar, author of the Wicked Lovely Series talks about sex in Young Adult novels.
I write YA. For now. I'm just comfortable with it, and the stories I want to tell are for that audience. Plus, more than half of what I read is YA. (The rest is witty women's fiction and fantasy.) So, everything related to YA is important to me.
My first Novel, Choosing Life, starts with a sex scene. That's right. A full-on, graphic sex scene. It's not a gimmick. That's where the book needs to start. The book is all about making choices and the repecussions of sex and sexuality. I'm actually thinking about toning it down some, but I'm not cutting it. That scene stays.
There are many parents who think teen books shouldn't have sex in them. For me, that attitude is like the parents in California who got the dictionary banned because kids looked up the wrong word. If you take sex out of YA novels, you are solving the wrong problem!
I don't advocate that all YA novels need a graphic sex scene. But sex is a part of a teenager's life. Teens are often defined by whether or not they're having sex. Even if they are not, some one around them is having sex, or someone is pressuring them to have sex. There is sex somewhere in their lives, whether they like it or not. Not including sex - even as a passing mention- is just plain unrealistic. Unless it's fantasy or sci-fi, because who has time for sex when there's dragons and hydroelectroatomic space bikes?
Universally removing sex from YA novels (or only allowing your teens to read YA that doesn't involve sex in any way, because really it's the same thing) is actually removing an acceptable way of a teen learning about sex. YA authors are generally responsible. They consider what they write and how it will affect young, impressionable minds. Taking this avenue away will not stop teens from coming into contact with sex.
On the contrary, they will find other ways. And if they want to read about it, they will. As a teen, I was totally not into the sex in books thing. Sex seemed to only be in romance novels, which tended to have as much plot as a grapefruit has agility. But all of my friends managed to get their hands on Loveswept and Mills and Boon novels. Some parents were cool with it, some weren't. And some... I remember a sleepover, where a friend's mother freaked out about the book I was reading. I think it was called Boy Talk. It was about some girls who set up a hotline that teens in their area could call anonymously with their boy troubles. She thought that book was too advanced for 13 year old me. The entire time she was lecturing me, I was thinking, "If only you knew what YOUR 13 year old reads!"
And that's another point about sex in YA. Teens are decent judges of what they want. People don't read books because every body else is reading them and that will make them cool. If a teenager doesn't want to read books where sex is a major part, they won't.
What are your thoughts on the issue?
INSANITY Day 3!!!
Remember you have to be a follower and you have until 11.59 pm EST Wednesday night to enter!
Blogger's Choice Packet
Today, one lucky person will win THREE books!
To enter today, tell me your view on sex in YA. You can also throw in opinions on general censorship in YA, or inclusion/exclusion of other taboo things and topics, like cursing, suicide, drugs.
Good luck to you all!
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