Wed 18 October 2017
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Why young-adult fiction is a dangerous fantasy
It’s time to acknowledge that publishers have systematically deprived generations from becoming literate adults by favouring gossip over real culture, argues Joe Nutt

I’ve drafted an outline for a bestselling young adult novel. It features a transgender school dropout with autism who meets a self-harming vampire with a heart of gold, hell bent on bringing peace to the world. Together they embark on a magical quest to find an ancient crystal with the power to render all weapons useless. Oh, and the protagonist’s mother makes a living selling legal highs to illegal immigrants.

For almost 20 years I taught English to teenagers and spent a lot of that time experimenting with classics and new books, always looking to find writing that would excite their interest and nudge them that little bit closer to becoming genuinely literate adults. I somehow managed to do this without ever being aware that there was some quasi-psychological state which I was entirely ignorant of – and which I had somehow managed to skip myself – called young adulthood. In that time, I learned a significant lesson. Nothing is more guaranteed to turn a teenager off a book than sensing the writer is proselytising.

So why are the young adult shelves in bookshops and the noticeboards in school libraries crammed full of invitations to read books spluttering and gagging on the foul-tasting medicine of their own good intentions? For the rest of the article

Source: The Bookseller

 
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