YA Turns to the Dark Side

An interesting article on YA appeared in the Washington Post earlier this month. The article contends that YA fiction has taken a dark turn as of late, dubbing it “the new disaster fiction.”  The article sites Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why (which deals with teen suicide), and Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls (about a girl struggling with anorexia), as examples of the recent wave of grim story lines. But is it really new? Or, is YA is simply returning to its grittier roots?

While I don’t agree that this is new development in YA, the author does make some good points as to why gritty and unsettling situations appeal to teenagers:

“…these books are, for many teenagers, accurate and realistic depictions of their inner lives. Your whole family may not have died in a car wreck, but it sometimes feels like they have. Everyone in the school cafeteria may not be plotting to kill you with bows and arrows, or knives, or mutant killer insects, but it feels like they are… [P]erhaps these books feel, at times, like a true and reasonable representation of daily life. It may be that the feverish drama of a 15-year-old’s private universe finds its natural form in these tales of destruction and death.”


Posted on June 19, 2009, in by Erin and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Hi Erin!

    Great article — I have to read any of those titles, but I’m added them to the list.

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