I think the headline speaks for itself, but before I get jumped here, that is obviously not my opinion since most of what I read is YA. That seems to be the opinion of a "YA author" who recently wrote an article for NPR.
This article was brought to my (and many others) attention on Twitter by the lovely Heidi R. Kling, author of the much anticipated upcoming YA novel, Sea, a couple of nights ago. The author of this article, Garret Freymann-Weyr, seems to be under the impression that the genre of YA isn't intellectually challenging enough for teenagers and "Many young adult novels don't set the bar very high in their language, character complexity or emotional nuance, which is why I — a young adult author — like to encourage young readers to venture into the adult shelf." (Taken directly from the article).
Now, I personally have never read any of Mrs. Freymann-Weyr's books and for that reason, I will not judge or comment on what she has written, but it appears that she obviously hasn't read many YA novels over the past 10 years or so. Because if she had, she would have realized that the YA genre has evolved immensely with authors like Laurie Halse Anderson, Elizabeth Scott, John Green, Ellen Hopkins, and Jay Asher (just to name a few).
Mrs. Freymann-Weyr's article, which is titled "Three Books For The Smartest Teens You Know," listed three books that I've personally never heard of, much less read, and honestly if I saw them in the bookstore, I wouldn't pick them up. It seems that she has this idea that all YA books need to be these complex works that challenge the mind, and there's nothing wrong with that, but personally after reading so many serious novels, I need some fluff so I don't become depressed! Not all books need to be these complex stories, sometimes you need something light, fluffy, and unrealistic to balance things out.
I know in the comments, books like Twilight were being mentioned and even Twilight and that series has it's place in YA and has impacted lives. For many it got them to get into reading at all, and for some it's just a nice escape into another world and there's nothing wrong with that. And there's nothing wrong with stories that allow the reader to escape and to have this light story on their minds.
As you can tell, this article (I'll include the link below, and I urge you to go leave your thoughts) really got me worked up. I'm almost 21 years old, which I know some of the other YA bloggers are older, but I prefer YA. I've read YA novels that have more depth, development, and writing style than a lot of adult novels.
So I decided to put together a list here of just a few YA novels that set the bar pretty high, and have character development and emotion that rivals, if not exceeds many adult novels. And I urge you to leave me comments on what I've forgotten (I know I'll forget some), and on your own thoughts, as well as leaving your comments over on the NPR site about Mrs. Freymann-Weyr's article.
You can read the article here.
Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Willow by Julia Hoban
Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Hate List by Jennifer Brown
I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder
Crank; Glass; Burned; Impulse; Identical; Tricks (all) by Ellen Hopkins
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert
Nineteen Minutes; The Pact; My Sister's Keeper; The Tenth Circle (all) by Jodi Picoult
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan
The Louder Than Words series
Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
*Some of these I have not read, but I do know the impact they've had on others and feel they should be included.
Those are just SOME of the books that came to mind, and I know there are numerous others that belong on this list that I have forgotten and you can leave those in the comments if you would like.
I know this little rant of mine came a bit out of nowhere, but after reading that small article, I just got so worked up and then having to put off writing this for a couple of days just caused it to stew, but I think it was something that should be addressed. I would love to hear your thoughts as well.