This weekend there was a hoopla of twittering over a Wall Street Journal article lamenting/blasting the darkness of teen literature. I won't go into a rant here since that is not the purpose of this blog, but I will say the article was poorly researched and extremely biased. I was very sad to see that journalism has become this biased. When authors read the article, they began twittering. This lead to the #YASaves discussion on Twitter. It was a fascinating look at what books impacted readers. The blog posts rebutting the article were equally fascinating, but there is something powerful about readers talking about their own reactions to books.
It made me sit back and think about my books--the ones that made me feel empowered or scared or angry or happy. Most people know that The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier was the book that made me be a teen librarian rather than a children's or adult librarian. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume was one of the few of hers that I read as a child/teen. It made such an impact on me that I went to see Judy Blume talk almost ten years later just to say thank you. I learned about drugs from Sweet Valley High #40 On the Edge. Most of my reading in my high school days were horror. Christopher Pike was my love and then I branched out to Dean R. Koontz, Anne Rice, and Stephen King. Stephen King's It scared me so much that I still don't walk next to the sewer covers.
It was nice to remember these books that impacted me and helped mold my tastes. Did they warp me in way? No, do I only read dark, depressing materials? No. Did they answer some need to explore the darker things in life in a safe and non-threatening manner? Yes, a resounding yes.