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Are young adult novels worth reading? Show more Show less
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Coined in the 1960s, young adult fiction was originally marketed at 12-18-year-olds to fill the gap between children's literature and adult literature. However, over half of young adult readers are actually adults. Should adults be embarrassed to read young adult novels, or are they worth reading?

No, young adult novels are not worth reading Show more Show less

Some critics believe young adult novels expose adolescents to adult themes they may not be ready for. Authors of young adult novels do not fulfil their responsibilities to protect their readers from amoral or psychologically traumatic content. Other critics believe adults should be ashamed to read young adult novels, claiming they are dull and uninspired with predictable themes. Young adult novels should not be read.
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Young adult novels are dark and amoral

Young adult novels have taken a dark and inappropriate turn. Young adult authors who sensationalize drugs, sex, and violence could endanger the moral development of young adults.

The Argument

Judges and winners of the Carnegie medal have often come under attack for awarding the prestigious prize to novels deemed amoral. This argument believes young people are impressionable and vulnerable to psychological harm. Examples include Melvin Burgess's portrayal of heroin addicts, teen runaways, squatters, sexual awakening, and teenage prostitution in his 1997 Carnegie winning young adult novel, "Junk." "Junk" was largely criticized by press who feared his novel might encourage drug abuse. Kevin Brook has also been criticized for winning the Carnegie medal in 2014 for his contentious exploration of heroin addiction, attempted rape, enforced imprisonment, murder, and physical and mental abuse in "The Bunker Diary." With its refusal to entertain a happy ending like most young adult fiction, some critics claim "The Bunker Club" is too realistic and not suitable for children, labeling it as vile and dangerous.[1] The list doesn't end here. Young adult authors are increasingly creating fiction of a bleaker or more disturbing nature. Young adult authors who use shock factors and sensationalize sex, drugs, and violence to sell novels may be acting irresponsibly.[2]

Counter arguments

Young adult novels can be a reflection of the good and bad parts of society at any given time. Difficult or contentious topics can be seen as groundbreaking social commentary, and adolescents have the right to be educated on them.[3] It is irrational to hide children from the adult world when they are already exposed to it. Young people have the right to understand the world they live in. Young adult novels help young people become vigilant and knowledgeable about situations they may encounter as they move from their teenage years into adulthood.[4]

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jun/24/carnegie-medal-the-bunker-diary-kevin-brooks
  2. https://theday.co.uk/stories/vile-teen-book-scoops-prestigious-prize
  3. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/heroin-novel-wins-childrens-book-prize-1251001.html
  4. https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/too-scary-for-grown-ups-1253694.html

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This page was last edited on Thursday, 22 Oct 2020 at 03:36 UTC

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