Monday, 14 November 2011

SF Signal Podcast: YA Fiction

I had the pleasure of being part of SF Signal's 92nd podcast, talking about YA Fiction with fellow panelists: Ashley Crump, Jeff Patterson and Patrick Hester.  The questions we discussed were:

YA Fiction is taking the publishing world by storm but it's not just for Young Adults - people of all ages are enjoying what YA has to offer. Are you one of them?

  • What are some examples of genre YA you've enjoyed reading?
  • Is YA getting too dark?
  • Is YA not dominated by dark stories?
  • Is YA a bubble waiting to burst as some new thing takes the publishing world by storm?
Go on over and listen in.  Or, if you don't have time for that, here are some of the points I made.

1.There are 2 types of YA fiction, the kind that's specific to teens, their problems and ways of thinking and books that are written for anyone, but which happen to have teen protagonists.  If you're an adult, try to find the latter books as the former will make you want to argue with the characters about their choices and how in a few years they'll look back on this time and wish they'd chosen differently.

2. If you're avoiding YA literature because you think the writing quality won't be there, think again.  While some books are more simplistic, most are not.  If they were, do you think teens, who hate being talked down to, would read them?

3. As for YA being dark, would you rather kids learned stuff by doing it or by reading about it and deciding it's not for them?  Books afford the opportunity of learning from the mistakes of others.  And what's dark for 13 isn't necessarily dark for 17.  Parents need to be aware of what's out there and make educated decisions with regards to their own teen's development.  Each generation thinks the next is worse than their own.  The world has always contained dark corners.  That kids are exposed to it faster simply means they've got more tools to combat it (says the childless blogger).

Here are some reading suggestions if you want to try YA lit (some I mentioned on the podcast and some I didn't have time to mention).  They're listed here in no particular order.

Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins (I didn't mention this one on the podcast as it's well known.  But if you want to see darkness in teen fiction, as well as some fantastic characters and worldbuilding, start here.)
The Adoration of Jenna Fox - Mary Pearson (SF)
The Unidentified - Rae Mariz (dystopian)
Tankborn - Karen Sandler (SF)
The Declaration - Gemma Malloy (dystopian)
Mrs Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs (dark fantasy)
Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness (SF)
O.4 (British title) / Human.4 (US title) - Mike Lancaster (SF)
Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld (steampunk)
Eon - Alison Goodman (fantasy)
The Summoning - Kelley Armstrong (urban fantasy)

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