I was listening to SLJ’s SummerTeen, and during the Rockin’ Women of YA session Jackie Morse Kessler mentioned that she uses Jackie Kessler for her grown up books. It got me thinking of Andrea Cremer’s recent book deal to write an erotica trilogy. Sometimes authors use the same name for different genres (Ally Carter or Sophie Jordan), sometimes not (Meg Cabot, at one point).
And that got me thinking about teens reading; and how teens read what they want. (Thank you, Captain Obvious).
No, really — when I was a teen (and yes, there were teen books back then!) I read everything, adult and teen, romance, fantasy, historical fiction, etc. I wasn’t limited to the young adult section for my choices, and neither was I shamed from reading young adult because “smart teens only read adult” or some such. (That said, I certainly went through my “I’m a smart kid so I’ll read fancy pants books” period. I’m looking at my teen reading overall, not one particular time period.)
From the teens I observe in the library, they mostly approach reading the same way: they read broadly. They read a bunch of things. Some teen, some adult.
Which got me wondering about people who don’t want certain things addressed in young adult books. Pretty much, if teens want to read about certain things, they will find those books.
So, my question for you.
When you were a teen, what did you read when you wanted to read about the sexytimes or romance? I read a bunch of Harlequin and Harlequin type titles. Lace by Shirley Conran, Judith Kranz books, titles like that. I was lucky in that Norma Klein was popular, so I also had some more realistic books addressing teens and sex and romance. Forever by Judy Blume, obviously. But, definitely, not as many as today.
Teen readers may go to the adult romance section; but they also will be looking in the YA Section. Sometimes, it’s just nice to read about people your age. So, yes, teens go to the YA section. To see and find titles with characters closer to their age and their experiences; books that are more realistic. So now that I’ve asked what you read when you were a teen, what are some of the best, current, realistic views of sex in YA books?