V.C. Andrews is practically an institution. Her young adult gothic horror novels have sold more than 106 million copies, been translated into 24 languages, and educated generations of adolescent girls about consensual incest. Hers is the longest-running literary franchise in history and she’s one of the most popular authors working todayâexcept that she’s been dead for 27 years.
Every January, the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, releases the Best Fiction for Young Adults list. This list includes novels, short story collections, and novels in…
Megan Perryman’s 5-year-old daughter was browsing toys in a store. She picked up a toy recorder and her expression quickly changed as if she had done something wrong. “Oh no,” she said. “I’ve got the boys’ one!”
A mother’s attempt to ban Anne Frank's diary from classrooms in Michigan over “pornographic” anatomical descriptions has failed, after a committee ruled that the title's removal “would effectively impose situational censorship”.
Johnson started out with an idle musing on Twitter: “I do wish I had a dime for every email I get that says: ‘Please put a non-girly cover on your book so I can read it – signed, A Guy.’”
She pointed to one of her own covers as an example – showing, on a neon pink background, an image of an attractive teenage girl displaying part of her stomach, with the words “a novel” in a dark pink heart. “This is The Key to the Golden Firebird. It’s about three sisters who are dealing with the sudden death of their father. May, the middle sister, is trying to hold her family together and learn how to drive. This is the cover,” said Johnson.
She was inundated with support, prompting her to ask her fans to redesign books by male authors, imagining them as by and for female readers. “Take a well-known book … Imagine that book was written by an author of the opposite gender. Or a genderqueer author. Imagine all the things you think of when you think girl book or boy book or genderless book (do they exist?). And I’m not saying that these categorisations are right – but make no mistake, they’re there,” Johnson urged.
You can check out responses to Johnson’s challenge at:
Suddenly, it seems like gay characters are everywhere in Y.A. literature. Or, if not everywhere, certainly in far more places and in a greater variety than ever before. Perhaps the most eye-catching recent example, which preceded Time's controversial new issue, is David Levithan’s upcoming Two Boys Kissing—and its cover with, yes, two boys kissing. But beyond the covers, plots involving LGBT characters are twisting and turning and emerging anew from the traditional coming-out story of years past.
When I first read Lord of the Flies at school in Tasmania 50 years ago, I thought – as most boys probably do – that it was simply telling me the story of my life. That life had been short, and quite a bit of it was nasty and brutal. An hour in a school playground is an education in the bestiality of young males, who instinctively form packs and taunt those who don’t conform or – in a variant of the war-whooping chant repeated by the boys in William Golding's novel as they hunt wild pigs on their desert island – bash them up. As children and adolescents, we have an intimate acquaintance with evil. We spend our days either committing acts of violence or recoiling from them; hatred surges through our undeveloped bodies like an electric curren