I still hate YA.
You remember all those times your mom told you the old if-all-your-friends-jumped-off-a-cliff-would-you-do-it-too line? You know what I told my mom when she tried that one on me?
Um... no. I'd go down to the bottom and start looking for wallets and jewelry.
So, there's this assumption that "young adults" make some kind of moral and ethical connection between choices made by fictional characters they empathize with and the REAL-WORLD decisions and actions they assume themselves.
Again, I'm not making this up, this comes straight from the Thought-Police sites of the Wonder(bread)blog I mentioned yesterday.
I think we've all known some particularly dumb kid at one point in our lives who jumped off his roof wearing a red blanket clothespinned to his neck after he watched an episode of Superman.
Yeah... broken femurs are actually pretty damned funny sometimes.
Everyone loves observing idiocy from a safe distance, but give kids... er... Young Adults credit that their B.S. filters are functional. For those whose filters are a little "glitchy," like the red blanket boy mentioned above, we have one great hope: please do not attempt to breed.
One more bit about why I hate YA. I've been accused -- multiple times, and by different "adults" -- of being a bad father, because of what I write about.
First, allow me to fully confess and lay it all on the table: My first two books, Ghost Medicine, and in the path of falling objects have the words "damn" and "hell" in them (this is a hint that my next book, The Marbury Lens has quite an "expanded" vocabulary). They also include on- and off-screen references to underage sex, drinking, smoking, getting tattoos, chewing tobacco, suicide, driving without a license, and marijuana use.
So I'm a bad father. I made those things happen in my teenage kids' world, didn't I? I should have shielded their eyes and ears from such goings-on, and hope and pray that they remain untainted by reality, so they can live with me and their mother until well into their forties. As untattooed virgins.
Shoot me now.
You see, the clean-YA bloggers insist that you should never write anything if the prospect of your own kids reading it makes you feel "uncomfortable."
Sometimes, dealing with things with your kids that make you feel a little uncomfortable is a preferential strategy to burying their heads in the sand and hoping they don't catch passing glimpses of what the rest of the world is like.
So, yeah... I honestly do not feel uncomfortable at the thought of my fifteen-year-old son or my soon-to-be-thirteen daughter reading my stuff, because I know who they are, and I am there to talk about things with them (my son was devastated by something that a character did in Ghost Medicine, which he read at thirteen).
Sometimes kids do have to make tough choices, and we can always count on the fact that fledgling, "Young" adults are definitely going to make mistakes -- and, unlike red-blanket-boy, hopefully learn from them.
The bottom line, though, is that when we do let our "Young Adults" out into the world (as we do every single day -- at school, at malls, hanging out with their buddies) and they get confronted with difficult choices, the voice in their head that tells them which course to take is not going to be that of a character in the most recent book they enjoyed.
If you're worried about that, you better round up and hide all your red blankets, clothespins, and step-ladders.
Coming up tomorrow: My BIGGEST reasons why I hate YA.