Extreme Reading: In Response to That Bad Opinion Piece on YA Literature

Annika Barranti Klein

Staff Writer

Annika Barranti Klein likes books, obviously.   Twitter: @noirbettie

Annika Barranti Klein

Staff Writer

Annika Barranti Klein likes books, obviously.   Twitter: @noirbettie

We here at Book Riot couldn’t help but notice that last week marked a new addition into the canon of Bad Opinion Pieces About Young Adult Literature. We won’t link to it; we read it so you don’t have to. Instead I will list a few highlights before getting to the meat of my thesis.

  • The headline (admittedly likely not written by the author) calls YA “power porn” for adults.
  • The author claims to be in the minority in believing that adults shouldn’t read YA, despite this article being a carbon copy of every other article like it. Perhaps she should read more widely.
  • Every two paragraphs there are links to so-called related articles, each more harmful and hysterical than the last (example: a headline referencing the “Teen transgender trend” unironically). This is the newspaper’s doing, not the author, but it’s worth noting.
  • The author references postmodernism for…reasons.

    The article is riddled with $2 words (such as “disillusion” and “hence”) and its thesis appears to be thus:

    I propose we get a more subtle and refined dose of structure by voluntarily adhering to a higher standard where adults, to the best of each individual’s make-up, read at or near the highest level they can, much of the time.

    (Also something about how adults are only reading YA because of leftover anti-authoritarian feelings from our own youth. I think. It was hard to really get to her point with my eyes rolled so far back in my head.)

    Here is my thesis:


    Do you know how to drive a car? You probably do, and what’s more you probably drive below your skillset by doing lowly things like commuting and running errands. From now on, I propose that we only drive our car on race courses at 250 miles per hour, on obstacle courses, and in drag races in the L.A. River (winner gets your pink slip).

    Do you watch movies? I assume yes. I hope they are documentaries and foreign films only! (Subtitles are acceptable if you truly must, but dubbing is absolutely out.)

    Have you ever been hiking? Everest or GTFO.

    Do you cook? If it isn’t from your most complicated, time-consuming recipes, I don’t even know what you think you are doing. DON’T EAT THAT PEASANT FOOD. You should be preparing fugu for every meal.

    Collect anything? God help you if it is four-inch Star Wars figures, you absolute infant. You should be collecting frown lines, real estate, and income tax returns like an adult.

    With a little work, you can make everything that you do in life age appropriate. For postmodernism. Or whatever. And when you next read a book?

    Read as excruciatingly slowly as possible, especially the difficult passages.

    It’s what whatshername would want.

    P.S. The author, a white woman, assures us that this challenge is only for ourselves, not to impress others. Hmm. HMMMM.

    P.P.S. I was reading at college level when I was nine. Does that mean I should have skipped The Baby-Sitter’s Club and read Foucault in the fourth grade?