Sunday, June 5, 2011

Thoughts about the Wall Street Journal Article "Darkness too Visible"

I was just sitting on my laptop, tweeting on twitter away when I kept seeing #yasaves or @wsj with people sharing their thoughts. I finally go investigate on what this is about and come across this ludicrous article in the Wall Street Journal called "Darkness Too Visible ". My first thought was you've got to be kidding me. First of all, how would YOU know that this how teens feel? How is reading a book that is "disturbing" and "gritty" going to make me less "tenderhearted". Screw that! I'm a typical and modern teenager living in the U.S. surrounded by other typical teens. For now and for a while, teens are going to be my peers. And I would like to assure the writer of this article, that these so called "disturbing" books aren't twisting our minds. I think it is making us more sympathetic and being world aware. I know that's what YA has done for me.

I'm young enough that YA has always been around ever since I was born. But some of the bloggers and authors I've seen share their thoughts didn't have YA growing up. I think that is a big shame...
The authors and books that surround us today are amazing and so well written, no matter what the topic, these YA books can reach into the heart any modern day teen.

In middle school, one of the darkest books I read was By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead by Julie Ann Peters. Now that book was something I have never read before. Suicide, self mutilation, sexual harassment... Ya it was definitely different. But I am so glad I read it. It made me appreciate the life I have now. One of my close friends was going through a really tough period in her life and by reading this, I was able to thwart some of the dangerous ideas that went through my friend's head. And I wasn't just one of those friends who merely attacked her feelings by telling her what she was doing was stupid. By reading that book, I sort of understood how she felt and I sympathized for her. Now she is as happy as ever. One of the reasons why I think she was able to get better was by the books she read. She always read these dark books about girls and guys overcoming suicide and horrible personal situations. But I think by reading those books, I'm pretty sure she felt like she wasn't the only one out there. That she wasn't alone. And now when I look at her bookshelf, I pause taking in the weird titles and covers, but then appreciate what they did for my friend.

Now from my personal experience, I have to say I have read a range from the annoyingly happy dappy books to the darkest and grimmest books. But I think reading all these variety of YA literature has really shaped who I am today. I am a huge supporter of LGBT rights and part of the reason why was because of reading those "weirdo" books about gay kids being bullied and getting gas pumps getting shoved down their throats. Part of the reason I am open minded and supportive was reading how these characters felt and then just feeling so overwhelmed with emotions because of how stupid people can just judge and criticize gay kids to the point of even suicide. Imagine if we had all these books in the 70's, 80's, or 90's. Could the older generation been more lenient about the civil rights for the LGBT community? Who knows? Maybe...

YA has also been like a drug to me. I keep saying that I'm a modern teen, so what comes with that? Hell of a lot of peer pressure, drugs, alcohol, and whatever else you could think of. I should probably mention that I also live in one of the THE biggest college party cities, the city of Boulder, Colorado, home of the CU Buffs. So saying that, it's pretty easy for highschoolers to get their hands on those lovely kegs. But me? Ya I go to parties and whatnot but do I get "crunked", which is a popular teen term for partying out of your mind to the point of having a hangover for a week. Haha...definitely not. I just say, "Bitch, I've got some reading to do!" And hey, my friends just say whatever and let me do my thing. So I'd say it works out. I'd also say I'm a pretty social girl so it's not like I completely hide out of the world just to read books. No, definitely not. YA literature has just made it so that I can pass on a night of joint sharing to instead read about super hot Jace Wayland from City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare. Clear and simple. So do the "gritty" books about teenage alcoholics affect me into being one? On the contrary!

So the moral of my little rant is, that don't listen to the stupid hum bug that writer of this article has written. YA is bad ass and has risen to the top! YA has shaped me and probably millions of people out there into making better choices and feeling that you aren't alone. Because really, everyone needs a little of that wild teen angst that makes up YA novels. Everyone.

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