"How dark is contemporary fiction for teens? Darker than when you were a child, my dear: So dark that kidnapping and pederasty and incest and brutal beatings are now just part of the run of things in novels directed, broadly speaking, at children from the ages of 12 to 18."
However, the argument is often (in this thread, even) advanced in a way that suggests the things you read, the fantasies you engage in, have no effect on how you develop into an adult.
Can anyone else in their mid-thirties tell me if that experience is odd? Were there YA books in the late 80's/early 90's and I just missed them? If they did exist what were they like?
Cynthia Voigt, who wrote fairly dark realist fiction. Her most famous are the Tillerman cycle, which starts with a novel called Homecoming, about a 12-year-old girl whose mother abandons her and her three siblings in a mall parking lot.
By f—ing gatekeepers (the letter-writing editor spelled it out), she meant those who think it's appropriate to guide what young people read. In the book trade, this is known as "banning." In the parenting trade, however, we call this "judgment" or "taste." It is a dereliction of duty not to make distinctions in every other aspect of a young person's life between more and less desirable options. Yet let a gatekeeper object to a book and the industry pulls up its petticoats and shrieks "censorship!"
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