When YA and A are valued equally, with thanks to Main Line Today and Main Point Books

Monday, May 19, 2014

Anybody who knows me knows how I feel about labels. Applied to people. Applied to literature.

Still, those of us who write young adult fiction must, at times, face those who suggest that it is a lesser form, not nearly as important as the work written expressly for adults—a problem I discussed in a story for Publishing Perspectives titled, "Removing the YA Label: A Proposal, A Fantasy."

(Those of us who write quote-unquote literary contemporary YA fiction must also endure the suggestion that John Green has singlehandedly ushered in this genre's golden era, but that's a topic for another conversation, and we must be careful not to blame John Green for what is written about him.)

The problem with the YA-is-lesser assessment is that the YA writers I respect aren't writing down, aren't writing in haste, aren't writing with any less literary ambition than those who write novels for adults. We're just writing stories that happen to have younger protagonists at their heart; often we're writing "whole family" tales. Always, if we're serious about this stuff, if we're writing not toward known trends but toward felt story, we're writing as best as we can.

And so I will admit to feeling equal measures of joy and peace at finding Going Over on the Main Line Today list of 10 great beach reads by local authors. Not 10 YA books. Just ten books by authors ranging from Robin Black and Jennifer Weiner to Kelly Corrigan and Ken Kalfus. Ten books curated by Cathy Feibach of Main Point Books, who has made it her business, in this, the first year of her store's existence, to get to know who is writing what and to evaluate each book on its own terms.

I am honored. And I am looking forward to next Saturday, when I will drive down Lancaster Avenue and stop in Bryn Mawr and spend an hour signing both Going Over and Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir in Cathy's store. My signing caps a full day of signings, the details for which are here. And when I'm not signing, you can be sure that I'll be buying the books I want, seeing straight past their labels.


Liviania said...

I am very pleased that that list doesn't separate YA and A, but very conflicted, because I'm not sure I can get behind a list that recommends Mothership.

Serena said...

I am so pleased this list does not make distinctions...just the 10 beach reads!

AmberM said...

Liviania, Mothership was actually hilarious with a smart, refreshing protagonist. The cover is terrible and the premise strange, but still very fun.

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