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02 February 2007

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Kelly Fineman

I particularly take issue with his assertion about boys getting ideas to stalk girls from the Gossip Girls novels and their ilk, because I'm fairly certain that boys don't read them.

Also, he seems not to take a close look at what the kids he deals with are chucking into their lockers, if the occasional bit of manga is all he sees. Gossip Girls and other similar books are the equivalent of "beach reads" for teen girls (who DO read them, whatever Mr. Pasley thinks -- in fact, the only girls I've seen carrying or reading them and the only ones I've heard discussing them are in 8th grade or higher, making them at least 13 or 14. Not that some sixth graders aren't reading them, I'm sure, but I don't think that's the bulk of their demographic). And if they didn't exist (or even when they do), the same girls will read Norah Roberts or steamy Harlequin romances. How do I know? Because, middle-aged though I am, my girlfriends and I all did when we were teens. And my mother read Peyton Place as a teen. And my grandmother copped to reading whatever the equivalent was when she was a teen.

For his students' sake, I hope Mr. Pasley is more fun in class than his opinion would seem to indicate.

Shrieky

That was simply hilarious. I go to high school and I assure you that teenage girls read Gossip Girl and boys wouldn't be caught dead with them. The line about Danielle Steele was aboslutely classic. I'm putting that one in my quote book. :D

Little Willow

I am not permitting myself to post about this, because I will rant for DAYS. I'll just sum it up: You can't judge a class by one student, so why judge an entire section (with a wide age range and multiple genres) based on one book or series? Oy.

Cynthia Davis

I think the key word here is "balance". Should we condem the entire genre because of some albeit highly questionable novels? Absolutely not! Did Mr.Paslay bring up some points of merit in the ongoing dialogue about YA litererature that's been in progress since the early Judy Blume era? Absolutely!
Teen novels should explore the real-life issues teenagers face. They are a valuable tool in processing experiences and sparking dialogue. Do some novels teeter to far, glamorizing behavior that is far from every day teen fodder? Absolutely, again! Do other novels not go far enough, erring on the side of caution? Sure!
But as a teen writer, the one point that stuck with me the most from Paslay's piece was where he says the actual readers of teen lit are often still in their single-digit years. At first, I was surprised when 8-year- olds approached me at booksignings, telling me how much they enjoyed my novel, The Chrysalis--a book that include scenes that deal frankly with sex. Now I pretty much expect it. It dosen't mean I shy away from though subjects--my upcoming book Drink the Rain, has a subplot about underage drinking. What it does mean is that I need to be just that much more responsible in my treatment of these topics. Sure, it's tough, but these kids are the next generation of teachers, counselors, journalists, and parents. We owe it to them to discuss tough issues honestly. An if they laugh and cry and dream along the way, all the better.

Cynthia Davis
Author, The Chrysalis (Greenroom Books 2001)
Drink the Rain, upcoming (Greenroom Books, 2007)
http://www.myspace.com/drink the rain

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