The edge of YA

A friend told me that Millennials are having less sex because their parents are too open about it, and it no longer seems rebellious. This weekend, I started to worry that my children won’t have any secret books stuffed under their mattresses because their mother doesn’t adequately censor their reading material.

We are on that very precarious edge of middle-grade/young-adult in my house. When Silence casts a book aside, it’s often because she’s deemed it “inappropriate” — a judgement she makes more harshly than I do. (I’ve promised her she can read my YA novel, Prince of Pot, when it comes out this fall, but I have a feeling she’s going to put me on her censored list.)

Last week, we went to Susin Nielsen’s launch for Optimists Die First. Silence is a HUGE Susin Nielsen fan and she was already reading while in the line-up for autographs. But once we were home and she was halfway through, she stalked into the living room, cast the book down on the couch between Min and me, and said, “This is inappropriate.”

I looked at what she was reading. There is a fairly gentle make-out-session/fade-to-black sex scene in the middle of the book.

So, fine. It’s good that Silence is making her own decisions about what she’s ready to read.

There’s only one problem…. We got a signed copy of the book for one of Silence’s friends.

So, do we NOT give her the book? Do we give it to her and tell her not to read it for a few years? If we give it to her, do I have to email her parents? And why aren’t there parenting guidelines on Facebook for this sort of situation?

The upside: I now get to read the book myself. And it is hilarious. And wise. And oh-so-perfectly appropriate for me.

3 thoughts on “The edge of YA

  1. Give it to the friend.
    There are several scenarios (in rough order of likelihood, from most to least likely), only one of which is likely to result in grief to you:
    -the friend already reads those kinds of story lines, but her parents have no idea what she’s reading.
    -the friend doesn’t even read the book
    -the friend self-censors like your lovely daughter
    – the parent screens her daughter’s books and is offended.

    That is to say, I don’t think that most mother-daugher teams share a literary life as much as you and Silence do, so you are likely off the hook.

    Fiona read “The Fault in our Stars” by John Green and encouraged me to do so, because she found it so sad. It also includes a fade to black sex scene, Lots of her friends read his books – I’m sure their parents have no idea. (PS I tried to discuss said sex scene with Fiona and was pretty much stonewalled.)

  2. Fiona, seeing the title page of your book (before I filled in the above reply), asked “Why is it called ‘the Prince of Pot'”? From the tone in her voice, I could tell that she agrees with silence, that it is probably inappropriate.

  3. I eventually sent the book to the friend, then sent an email to the dad saying it might be a good idea for his older daughter to read it first.

    I suppose it’s good that we’ve raised girls with staunch moral standards. Maybe I’d better restrict myself to writing middle-grade books for a few more years!

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