Discussion: The effects of being a YA reader and teacher
The effects of being both a YA reader and teacher
Hi guys! I've been wanting to do some discussion posts for awhile now, but never seem to really have the time to sit down and do them. Since I'm on currently on Spring Break and I had this post idea come to me, I decided let's do this!
Most of you know I'm a teacher. For those of you that don't though, I am a high school Spanish teacher at a really large high school. I mainly teach sophomores and juniors, but I do have some freshmen and seniors sprinkled in. With that being said, I spend more time with teens 15-18 than I do actual adults my own age.
Every year I learn new slang and new trends, but for the most part- it's the same old, same old. Kids are trying to fit in, find their way, figure out their future. You've got the really good kids who are focused on studying and doing well. You've also got some kids that just don't give a shit about school and just want to go about their daily lives.
Being a witness to all of this, I have a really hard time with YA books that aren't realistic. I have read several YA's where I was left shaking my head because there is no way a kid would say the things they did or do the things they did. I do understand that some authors want to maintain a more appropriate, clean novel- but let's be real. Those aren't for me.
I love YA authors who aren't afraid to include sex in their books. Because let's face it- KIDS ARE DOING IT. It doesn't have to be graphic, but it doesn't hurt to acknowledge it's happening either. I also appreciate YA authors that aren't afraid to use language in their books. If you guys only knew how many times my kids slipped with shit or fuck.... And that's in class. Out in the halls? Forget it.
In short, my YA's have to be believable to me. Especially since I work with teens every single day of my life and I know their crazy antics and see all the many different sides of them. I have come to really appreciate authors whose characters are flawed and not perfect. Most high school teens are not these strong, self-assured characters we so often read about. They have their moments of weakness, of insecurity. Even the best kids make mistakes and do things they shouldn't.
I have such an appreciation for authors who capture authentic teen voice. Those are the books I prefer to be reading. I can't take books that are prettied up or who use unrealistic dialogue. That is me though. I know if I were a teen reader, I would roll my eyes at that.
Rachel Harris, Emery Lord, Katie McGarry, Heather Demetrios, Ann Aguirre, Melissa West, Leigh Ann Kopans, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Paula Stokes, Trish Doller (just to name a few) all do a fabulous job of writing authentic teen voice in my opinion. I have also heard Miranda Kenneally mentioned as well, but haven't personally read any of her books yet.
What about you guys? Do you like more authentic YA's that aren't afraid to push the envelope so to speak? Or do you think that YA books should be censored? Let me know what you think!