Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Tell Me Something Tuesday #5

Well Hellooooooooooooooooo Tuesday! Is it that time again? Well then. It's time for another TMST...

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a fab meme hosted by Cambria Hebert.

The questions are always fun and thought provoking and it's a great way for us bloggers to get to know one another across the cyber miles.

So here is this weeks question:

Do you think that YA books should have ratings like movies?

This actually came up in another book related conversation I was having with someone else...

She was recommending the Morganville series, and she was trying to explain to me where to find it in our local book shop.

She said I could look for it in  "12+" or "Teen" Or in general YA... By this point I was totally confused. The person in question expressed her distaste that it had been filed under 12+ as there were certain points she did not agree were suitable for the age range.

I guess the most sensible thing to do would be to define what YA fiction actually is...

A definition of 'YA' taken from Dictionary.com

Young Adult


a teenager (used especially by publishers and librarians).
a person in the early years of adulthood
So the audience in question are still impressionable and there in lies the responsibility writers and publishers alike. But at the same time, YA fiction has to represent and respect the stage at which these young people are at. If the writing is deemed immature or worse, condescending to the audience, then they simply won't read the work.

Do we really need ratings for YA fiction?!

I think the problem with YA fiction in general is that it covers such a wide age group and as a result, a vast scale of maturity. Everyone matures at different rates so what could pass as suitable literature for one; may be totally off mark for another.

This question is difficult for me to answer. On the one hand, a rating system might be useful but then again, another rating system? Aren't books the one thing that is free from all that kind of restriction?!

The other issue here is that, whether we like it or not, sex, drugs, alcohol are all issues that young adults will come across and have to decide exactly how they will deal with it. Isn't it better that they explore these issues through books?
Books are supposed to be a safe, and free place in which we explore issues and work out what we truly think of them.

But  then the question for writers of YA, is how far can you take a topic that will be a reasonable, responsible and acceptable? Sheesh. Where do you even begin?!

What is your take on this week's question?

Happy Tuesday everyone!


  1. I agree that authors and publishers have a huge responsibility where the YA crowd is considered. We are the ones who set the stages for them to safely explore the harder topics of life. I think ratings would help, but only by age group. And if all else fails, the parent should read the book first and decide if it's acceptable for his/her child to read.

  2. That is the problem the age read is so broad and YA is marketed sometimes to even ten years old. There is such a huge difference in maturity from 12-18 and it is difficult to lump all the books into the category. Tough question for sure.

  3. I think this concept is very interesting-- YA books having ratings like movies. I’m opened to the notion and think it could work. I agree with what Heidi and Erin have said, maturity varies so much so ultimately the parents needs to be the final judge. There are times when my 12yr has asked me if she can read a book and if I’m not sure she knows I must read it first. If I'm busy that can take some time so it would be nice to have a rating system that would tell me the basics like if there is violence, sexual content, bad language, etc…

  4. Hey guys,

    Thank you for hopping over here and taking the time to comment.

    As I have hopped about the blogs on this Q, it becomes apparent that most of us agree that the YA genre is simply too broad. There is such a variation of maturiaty in the audience, so some sort of content warning would be useful, that, or to divide the genre into smaller age catergories.

    This weeks Q has really got the brain working! :-)

  5. Oh come on! I taught young adult books for years, and the most popular authors know what they are doing. Teachers and parents have enough to do worrying about their kids without having to spend time worrying and/or reading their literature. Trust the known authors. Shy away from the ones that aren't well known.
    One of the best young adult books out there is "I, Juan Paraja." It's a wonderful story of a slave owned by Diego Vasesquez, a famous Spanish painter during the 1600's. I would recommend it to any young adult reader. It's a hard one, be we taught it during our literature section to seventh graders.
    Lois Lowry is another great YA author. So, trust your librarians, and teachers. You won't be led astray.
    If ratings are insisted upon, go for age grouping, and/or reading skill levels. Not content!

  6. I agree, it is such a hard question. I really like what you said about authors looking at a subject in reasonable, responsible and acceptable ways. I also like what Jimmie Earl said - go for age grouping and reading skills - not content.

  7. I just wanted to say thanks to Jimmi Earl for his very balanced veiw /comment on this TMST question...Breaking the genre down into smaller age groupings would be a better system...

    A big thank you to those who took time to comment and join in - looking forward to the next TMST! :-)

  8. Hi! Sorry I am a week late... I was in the middle of a move but really wanted to see what you all had to say about this. This question is so intriguing. I really love your answer and I agree with it. I think it does depend on maturity and that YA is such a wide age range it gets ticky. Thanks for answering this, I enjoyed reading it. By the way this week's TMST is up! Sorry it was late! :) I am now back to my normal bloggin schedule. :)

    1. Hey Cambria!

      Glad to have you back! :-) Really hope you are happy and settled since your move. Hope you are winning the unpacking war over the boxes! ;-)