First the link: Rod Dreher shares this terrific piece from Michelle Dean about young adult literature:
Curiously, it is the kind of flat that actually made me angry as I read it. I am not the kind of person who sniffs at “low culture.” Still, something like “Divergent” has been so hastily assembled, and then so cynically marketed, that I cannot help being offended on the part of the reading public. I know it sells, and God knows that publishing needs the money. But the pushing of this stuff is starting to make me feel as if we’re all suckers. Cruelly, the gilded age of young-adult literature threatens to suck the life out of the whole thing.It isn’t hard to see what has brought us here. It’s money, plain and simple. I wouldn’t turn my nose up at cold, hard cash either (like Somerset Maugham, I often wonder if the people who speak contemptuously of it have ever had to do without). But let’s be clear that the chase of it guides people into all kinds of misadventures. In publishing, that means hunting down every young person with an aspiration to write a dystopian or fantasy epic. Even if they might not sell 450 million copies (as Scholastic claims Rowling has), the industry is certainly prepared to accept the consolation prize of the 65 million copies that “The Hunger Games” sold domestically.Few are bothered by the costs of this excitement, though successful writers in the young-adult market do seem to have noticed the way the industry depends on them. John Green, whose (excellent, though non-epic) young-adult novel “The Fault in Our Stars ” will get its own film adaptation in May, explained his predicament to The Chicago Tribune last fall: “It’s a massive amount of pressure, and not just from fans, but from people whose jobs are on the line because of what you write.” And that pressure’s twin seems to be a blunt carelessness in selecting and editing new work for publication. Most of these Next Big Things appear to have escaped any serious redlining. It seems their “editors” simply pray to the gods of chance that the author lands on a critical featherbed, rather than being thrown to the wolves.
Do read the whole thing; the problems plaguing young-adult fiction are a topic I'm always interested in, and I hope to get back out here to discuss this later in the week, but in the meantime, please feel free to comment.
On the subject of children's fiction--here's the request part of this post. If you have read my second book, A Smijj of Adventure, would you consider leaving a review on Amazon? I am really interested in honest reviews, positive or negative (though to be fair the only person to leave a negative review on The Telmaj was a blog-stalker who pretty clearly didn't buy the book, and the negative review was all about her dislike of my conservative politics and nothing about the book itself).
If you can do this, I'd really appreciate it! And since there aren't any reviews as of yet--why not be the first? :)