Via SF Signal, I came across a post by SF/F author Nancy Kress. Kress is a SF/F writer of some renown (her Hugo and Nebula Awarded Beggars in Spain landed highly recommended in my TBR pile), who a.] admittedly hadn't read any YA since she was "about ll," (since according to Wikipedia, she was born in 1948, was some time ago) and, b.] is "supposed to be thinking about a proposal for a YA SF novel."
Okay. She's an adult SF/F writer crossing over into YA, and is now going to read YA lit to find out what it's about... so she can write it. Okay. She's doing her homework. Everyone has to start somewhere.
She picks up Black Holly's Valiant...
"Now, I was not expecting Nancy Drew. But... surely this sort of behavior isn't very common? Is it something you'd want your ten-year-old reading? (YA is supposedly for 12-15-year-olds, but in fact younger kids who are good readers consume most of it.) Yes, fiction is about stuff that isn't necessarily common, but is this level of brutality and the number of "unhealthy relationships" (to resort to psychobabble for a moment) typical of all YA fiction?"
I felt the need to respond, absolutely. And though I am a Black Holly fangirl to the bone, I tried to be mature and respectful and answer objectively. I encouraged her in her first impulse to read more to see what YA is actually all about. I respectfully hope she does.
The thing is, there seemed to be... an attitude of disdain and some sort of moral... somethingitude in that post that set me on edge. (Contempt? Contempt prior to investigation?) Upon what does she base her assertion about good middle grade readers "consuming most of it," especially as she's not been into the genre for over forty years? I am not yet sure if the author was even asking a genuine question; there was a mincing superiority in the tone, as if she examined the distastefully unhealthy YA genre from a distance. She said nothing about the plot, characterization or story arc. She said nothing about Holly Black's writing. I got a big feeling of "eew!" from the whole post, and thought, "Why, then, does she even want to take on this project?"
And so, my tiny rant: when so many people want to get into YA lit, or break into print in SF/F, to hear a writer who is having an opportunity handed to her read one book and then turn up her nose -- at all of YA?!?! Annoys me.
It just does.