On Darkness in YA Literature

On Darkness in YA Literature By now most of you have read the Wall Street Journal article that appeared on June 4th called “Darkness Too Visible” by Meghan Cox Gurdon, which decried the dark themes in today’s YA literature. After it came out, the Internet erupted with responses, including over 15,000 tweets and many blogs posts and articles from YA authors and others in the writing/publishing community. (Nathan Bransford gave some good links.) All of this happened when I was on vacation and blissfully unaware, but now I’ve read the article, dozens of the tweets and a handful of the posts and I do have something to say.

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YA & Middle Grade Fiction

Stephanie Reed wrote: A fellow CBA children’s author and I heard that, because there are already so many good mainstream children’s novels, there’s not much need for CBA children’s novels. Do you agree? And if so, please tell me how great mainstream novels and great CBA novels for adults have peacefully co-existed for years. My point is, why not provide an excellent selection of CBA novels for children NOW (and believe me, we knock ourselves out to do just that), and thus have a ready-made market of loyal adult readers someday? My thoughts: You said “novels” so I assume you mean middle-grade and YA fiction (as opposed to illustrated children’s books). I agree the market is difficult for NEW authors to break into. In my opinion, this is true for a...
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The Glut of Children’s and YA

I’ve mentioned in several places that I’m seeking to represent some YA and middle-grade fiction. But holy cow, I didn’t realize that would open the proverbial floodgates. My inbox is bursting at the seams with childrens and YA, especially fantasy. I’m not seeking to represent children’s books, and I don’t intend to make YA the bulk of my business, so I’m going to be VERY selective in choosing this genre. In fact, I haven’t yet found a YA project that’s right for me. So if you’ve received a pass letter, please don’t despair. You’re not alone. Plus, there are a lot of agents out there who are excited about YA. If your book is good, you’ll find the right agent. Now, of course I find myself ruminating on why so many...
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