This morning I woke up to the big twitter kerfuffle #YAsaves about a Wall Street Journal article. I read a lot of young adult fiction and follow a few YA authors on twitter, so it pretty much jumped out at me.
In the article the author slated modern young adult books as being overwhelmingly dark and violent, and unsuitable for teens. This led to an avalanche of twitter posts and blog posts about how many young people are trapped in dark and violent lives and value something which makes them feel less alone. This came from YA authors who have received letters from teens saying this, and direct posts by teens. Sadly the spammers latched onto a trending topic and drowned the feed in garbage, but a wonderful person preserved some of these tweets on storify so you can see what I mean.
I tried to think about the books I read as a teen to see how this alleged flood of darkness compared with the late 80's (yes, I know I'm old, shut up), and to be honest, I realise that I didn't read young adult. I had a library card and the freedom to read whatever I chose (no censorship in our house. Love you, Mum!) so I ploughed through the children's section and read everything in it, then pretty much without looking up moved onto the next available shelf, which was adult genre fiction. For some unknown reason, they put what young adult books there were on the other side of the library. I didn't even see them until I had exhausted the adult genre fiction and was eyeing the non-fiction shelves.
So, the books I read as a so-called impressionable teen were adult horror (every one I could find), fantasy and thriller, with the occasional old-skool rapetastic romance thrown in, the kind that the Smart Bitches have a field day with occasionally. If this article author thinks YA darkness is bad, she should have seen what I was reading.
Those horror books didn't do anything to change me. What shaped me were my real life experiences, not things I read on a page. I don't propose to censor The Boy's reading, even if I did chicken out of reading the Tales of 1001 Nights to him.
I am really curious about the rest of the world, though. What books did you read as a teen? Do you feel that you were scarred by inappropriate books or saved by loving censorship?