I'm not going to get all revved about this because, honestly, if this is the first time that this guy, this teacher, has run into the Gossip Girl book, well... then he's probably not all that up on YA lit. Judging from his tenth-grade English II syllabus, he sticks to the classics. (Not that there's anything wrong with that or that it means he doesn't read YA lit in his spare time. Obviously I don't know that. But like I said, if this is the first time he's run across Gossip Girl, it's unlikely. They've been around since, what? 2002?)
I think I've made it pretty clear in the past that I'm not a huge fan of the Gossip Girl/ Gossip Girl readalikes*. But I don't find them quite as worrisome as Christopher Paslay does. I don't think that they'll cause "sexual frustration in hormone-laden young readers", leading to an "over-eager boy stalking a female classmate by making unwanted sexual advances, or sending her obscene text-messages". I just... think that's maybe going a little overboard.
Anyway. I don't even really care about the Gossip Girl books. We already went over all that when Naomi Wolf freaked out. My concern is this quote:
"Over the last five years, teen fiction has taken a nosedive right into the toilet."
Um, no. Gossip Girl et al -- that's just a fraction of what's out there.
A few current authors of contemporary teen fiction to check out: John Green. Cecil Castellucci. Maryrose Wood. Sarah Dessen. Deb Caletti. Rachel Cohn. Chris Crutcher. David Levithan. Gail Giles. Brent Hartinger. Lisa Yee. M. T. Anderson. Markus Zusak. Sara Zarr. Ellen Wittlinger. Pete Hautman. Meg Rosoff.
Those are just a few off the top of my head. Some write books that are geared more towards middle school-aged students, some write books that are geared towards older teens. Most of them write primarily realistic fiction, which is what Mr. Paslay seemed to be concerned with. Read them and discover that basing an opinion of an entire genre on two books is maybe a little bit rash.
*To keep things simple, let's include The Clique/The Clique readalikes, too. The Clique books don't have the sex or the drugs or the drinking or the swearing, but they have the same gross cattiness and the same rampant consumerism. So there are distinct similarities... in that they are pretty much the clean version of Gossip Girl.
[Later: Brent Hartinger's take on the editorial.]