Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Getting the Stink Eye In the YA Section: A Humble Response

So, as I was perusing the blogosphere on the look out for tasty blog posts to include in my Thursday Literary New Roundup, I came across this piece from Cade and Braintasia Books.  As lovers of young adult lit, almost all of us, like Cade, have gotten 'looks' or rude comments about our reading tastes.  When Cade asked what she should have done, here was my comment:

"I swear, sometimes I just feel like handing someone like that a card that says, "Actually, if you read commentary on current young adult literature, I think you'll find that there is little distinction in the subject matter, and that teen lit is being praised as being just as good, and in some cases, superior, to current adult lit." And then list some links to articles that state this

Or, you can just give her the stink eye and say, 'Mind your manners, woman.  I am not your daughter, so what I read is your business because.... ?'"

So, um, like, why don't you put down that book about self-absorbed teenagers and pick a REAL ADULT book?

Well, the more I got to thinking, the more I realized that handing a rude creeper like that a card is a fabulous idea.  As a service to the YA blogging community (and to adults lovers of YA lit, in particular), I humbly present you with a YAngelism Education Brochure.

YAngelism: (n) zealous preaching and dissemination of the gospel of young adult literature.

***Please note: YAngelism is a fabulous term that the lovely ladies at Forever YA first coined, and it is included their public lexicon.  Please also see the YA Manifesto, the YAngelism Anthem and the recent preaching from Poshdeluxe.  Amen, sisters, A-to-the-men!.

Anywho, for your reading pleasure, here's what I have come up with: a handy-dandy pamphlet, complete with YA lit definition and contemporary support for the genre:

If you want to see my little letter on the 'Dear Concerned Sir/Madam' part, click here.  This sucker was super easy to make - feel free to make your own!  So, the next time a holier-than-thou type gives you the stink eye or a rude remark, just smile and hand the fool one of these!

Special thanks to the awesome people who gave me permission to quote them in the pamphlet!  


  1. Haha, you rock! I think I may just have to print out a few pamphlets of my own.

    My response, if I give a direct response, is usually to mention a bunch of classics that were originally written for children. Books like:

    To Kill a Mockingbird
    The Secret Garden
    Anne of Green Gables
    Treasure Island
    Alice in Wonderland
    The Chronicles of Narnia

    So am I immature if I read and enjoy any of those classics? Am I emotionally stunted? Stupid? Well? Works like a charm.

    A good book is a good book, regardless of what age it was originally written for. Besides, I read what I enjoy and I'm not going to stop just because someone I don't even know is judging me.

  2. Excellent choices!! Yeah, I thought about switching out some titles, putting others in, but I wanted to stick to the modern era.

    "YA Lit: because I'm young at heart, you old beeyotch!!"


  3. This is a WONDERFUL post!!! I can't even count how many times I've felt looked down on for shopping in the YA section! This pamplet would have come in VERY handy!

  4. Oh, man, this is AWESOME! My sister and husband both openly mocked me and walked away when I headed to the YA section at the bookstore. They don't know what they're missing!

  5. Love the pamphlet (and the whole post)!!! I need to order a 100 :)

  6. Hey, I got is saved in Word and pdf - let me know!


  7. Utterly brilliant! I'm just in love with your reasoning behind why you love and read YA.
    Thankfully, I've yet to come across anyone who's judged me for reading YA but that's probably because I look a lot younger than 22 years old.

  8. Oh, it'll come - I think poor Cade is only 16 and got the look! I can pass for a college student in jeans and a hoodie. I work for a university, and I got an odd look when I was shuffling through the YA section in the Education Dept.'s curriculum library the other day. One of the professors said to me (kindly, jokingly), "Liiiiiinds, what are you doing over there? Those are for little KIDS!!" I kept my inner Grrrrrr under control :)


  9. Well Linds, what can I say except: YOU'RE AWESOME!

    I was just having this discussion with a friend of mine the other day. I have been out of school for two semesters, so I was super excited to get back into class.

    Low and behold, first day of class opens with a discussion on the "important difference between fiction and literature."

    Fiction is that "crap" they sell at the supermarket, like Twilight.

    Literature makes an artistic statement.

    Needless to say, I left class heartbroken and irate. I mean WTF? I'm so tired of these types discussions, especially since it seems every lit class I have taken starts as a bash fest. Yes, I will admit to a difference between literature and fiction, but at least these fiction books got people (interested in) reading again. Can't anyone credit that at all?

    It is very upsetting to me that *most* snotty scholars are unwilling to acknowledge what an impact YA lit has had/is having! "Readers" are being born out of this, and will develop good reading habits or practices or whatever you want to call it. They will get curious about reading other genres. Point is, they will read. Shouldn't that count for something.

    In my current class, we are studying metafiction, and we had to pick term paper topics. Stubborn as I am, I tried to sell my prof on allowing me to do The Book Thief, but got turned down because it was YA fiction. :(

    Now I'm seriously considering printing this pamphlet and handing it to him next time I'm in class.

    Thank you.

  10. Booo Missie! That sounds awful!!! Yes, it should absolutely count for something!! FYI for your prof - one of the hardest classes I ever took was Critical Theory, and it was taught by the hardest professor I've ever had - seriously, I BLED for that overall 'B'! Anyway, we had to make our final paper on a close reading of a piece of LITERATURE using a particular lense - I chose to do a feminist reading of The Giver, by Lois Lowry, and I got an 'A' on it - he said, "I knew you were capable of this kind of work." So, if you need to make an argument for why you should be allowed to focus on YA, consider me a reference!! The Book Thief is a marvelous choice, and it wasn't originally marketed as YA, but ADULT lit!! Close-minded people = major fail!!


  11. That is why the Vandergrift info was especially interesting to me. Thanks for including that.

    And Wow. Your paper sounds interesting. Did you publish it?

    I ended up with Dorian by Will Self, and I'm excited about it. Haven't read it yet. And you better believe I will have The Book Thief as a reference. I will find some magical way to work it in. ;)

  12. Goodness gracious this post and brochure RADIATES AWESOME. Seriously.

    I love it and I want to print out billions of those brochures and pass them out.

    I've never gotten stinkeye though, prolly because I look like a developed 13 year old when I'm not in my business casual attire(but I'm 23).

    Also, whenever I see adults in the YA section, I just want to shake their hand and say thank you for branching out and checking out this amazing wealth of books. Because it does take courage to buy something for yourself in the YA section if you aren't YA and scared of being judged and don't know anything about the world of adults who LOVE YA.

    Also, longest comment ever. I don't apologize because long comments are awesome :-)

  13. @Missie No, didn't publish it. I was going for an Education Master's in Sec. Ed./English cert. . . my paper was good for the class, but I don't think it was pub worth - would love to read your paper when you are done, though!

    @April Thank you, thank you! I just wrote it using a template in Word - feel free to poach, add in your own book suggestion, a letter from you, etc. Seriously, I attack adults in the YA section - my brethren! I helped a lady pick out books for her daughter the other day - she walked out with The Hunger Games, Anna and the French Kiss and Nightshade, although I encouraged her to also get Revolution :)

    And yes, long comment are the best - this is supposed to be a conversation, yes? Thanks for stopping by!

  14. OMG, I love this pamphlet! So well done. I think I'll go print out 20 copies right now. ;)

  15. This is wonderful! I'm posting it on FB and printing out the pamphlet. Thank you!

  16. Great stuff. I consider myself an evaMGelist. I can even say that I prefer MG to YA.