There has been so much interesting discussion inspired by Ann Hulbert's article in Slate. Gail Gauthier has a great entry today over at Original Content. (An aside here: Gail's blog is a great read!) I agree with her argument that by saying all YA is useless we tell teens and young adults that their ideas and issues are also worthless. And, it is true. Moby Dick isn't going to appeal to everyone. "Seek out the best of your genre" is great advice.
This morning I decided to take a look at what teens themselves were selecting as their favorite books. I conducted my undercover research over at Teen Ink. Not surprisingly, teens are not as hopeless as some seem to think. Their favorite books are the best of their genre in MG fiction, YA fiction, popular fiction, and, yes, even the classics.
Catcher in the Rye
Toni Morrison's work
Angus, Thongs, and Full-frontal Snogging
His Dark Materials
To Kill a Mockingbird
Shakespeare (pretty funny discussion on Shakespeare in the favorite books thread.
The kids are alright. In fact, they seem to be pretty much the same as they were a generation ago or two generations ago (you get my drift). Teens know the difference between classics and popular fiction. And, they are able to select their favorites according to their own tastes within each genre. Some people do actually like Moby Dick. My favorite classics as a teen were The Scarlet Letter, The Dollhouse, and Heart of Darkness. Yes, I was a moody one.