IO9 has to have up two of the silliest pieces I have read on YA literature in ages. One is about SF YA being good and the other, of course, is about it being bad. Talk about recycling the exact same arguments for and against YA classification that have been out there for ages. The only thing I could figure is that the folks in the SF community apparently don't read a single thing that hasn't appeared a dozen times somewhere else - these two really do think they are saying something new.
Yet again I have to wonder why they don't actually have someone actively involved in teen publishing, or working with teens in libraries or bookstores to write on this topic. If I read one more comment from someone stating they were reading Asimov or Herbert or Dick at the age of 10 and thus, decrying the need for literature aimed at teens, then I will be violently ill.
I mean seriously, must it always come down to this same he said/she said sort of argument?
They never know why the designation of YA exists, they never know who designates a book YA or not, they don't understand why a teen would want to write a book aimed at their age group, they think a YA will make readers feel disenfranchised, they think it is some sort of sub genre of the "real" genre. Here's from the silly "against YA" piece:
If we really want to open science fiction up to new readers, we won't do it by dividing our audience up into smaller and smaller groups. Nor will we expand the minds of young people by telling them that they should only read specially-designated novels for young people. Why not admit that teens have a place in the world of adult imagination, and vice versa? Adults and teens are different in all kinds of ways, but surely they can meet in the world of fiction. Since so much scifi is about changing the future, it seems crucial that this genre forge alliances between youth and adults. We'll build a better space-faring species together if we don't deliberately create generational barriers where they aren't necessary.
And from the equally silly "for YA" piece:
The readership of "regular" science fiction books is a defined group of people with a shared set of interests, who dress a particular way and talk in a "nerd accent." The readership of YA books is anyone of a particular age. So, in a sense, YA books have a more diverse readership and are more welcoming to outsiders. Grown-ups might feel silly reading a Scott Westerfield book on the subway, but there's really nothing to stop you doing it anyway.
Here's an idea - why doesn't everyone just grow up and stop talking about this and let teens read what they want; whether a publisher designates it YA or not. (And really, that is what they are quite happily doing anyway.)
UPDATED: There's a small conversation building on this over at Boing Boing.