Problem novels, issue books, social novels — whatever you call them, they’re abundant. Where’s the line between good fiction and moralising?
Jennifer Hubbard’s And We Stay is a contemporary YA calculated to hit a number of issue points, including suicide and abortion, yet it’s presented in a manner that is a little off-beat, which makes it more dynamic and interesting than many books of its ilk. Hubbard chose to weave the story of Emily Dickinson, and poetry, throughout […]
‘Oh,’ I said to a public relations representative the other day. ‘I usually avoid issue books, but I’ll check it out if you really feel strongly about it.’ Of course she does–it’s her job to sell books, and to get me interested in promoting them for her. I have a great relationship with the PR […]
If you were in a bookstore seeking out a copy of an epic fantasy novel written by a well-known Black writer, one who had perhaps won awards for her work, where would you look? How about a mystery written by an up and coming Chinese author? Or some literary fiction written by a bisexual woman? […]
Discussing the slew of concerntrolling editorials about how YA is destroying the world, a radio producer recently asked me if I thought YA acts like a user guide to self-harm and other potentially destructive, harmful, or socially undesirable behaviours. It’s a point that gets brought up a lot in these op-eds, and my response, as […]
I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about ‘issue books’ lately, and their long-established lineage in young adult and children’s fiction as well as their current incarnation. A lot of people don’t like them, and make the mistake of confusing any sort of book with a minority protagonist as an issue book, no matter […]