September 9th, 2008

Stephen King reviews THE HUNGER GAMES. Let's discuss

In Entertainment Weekly Stephen King often reviews books or writes a funny column about pop culture. This week I was v. pleased to see he reviewed a YA book. The book is getting all kinds of buzz, for a review on the novel go see jenlyn_b

What I want to discuss are the comments he makes about the book being branded YA.

"The love triangle is fairly standard teen-read stuff: what 16-year-old girl wouldn't like to have two interesting guys to choose from? The rest of THE HUNGER GAMES, however, is a violent, jarring speed-rap of a novel that generates nearly constant suspense and may also generate a fair amount of controversy. I couldn't stop reading, and once I got over the main character's name (Gale calls her Catnip—ugh), I got to like her a lot. And although "young adult novel" is a dumbbell term I put right up there with "jumbo shrimp" and "airline food" in the oxymoron sweepstakes, how many novels so categorized feature one character stung to death by monster wasps and another more of less eaten alive by mutant werewolves..." Stephen King, EW magazine

Then he digresses into plotty stuff.

So what do you make of that?

Does he mean that YA can never be a "real" novel? Is that the "airline food" joke, that food on an airplane is not real food and a book called YA is not a real book? Because if that is what he meant, that is *so* not cool.

We're getting there people.
Our books are getting read, and reviewed. We are gaining respect, but is the labeling still getting us hosed?

Besides ridding our books of "standard teen fair like love triangles" what can we do to stop being discriminated against because of our YA name?

*Edited to add: YA writers/readers may want to scan down to sarahcross comment for a juicy 100%-I-agree comment*