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Fridays With Agent Kristin: Episode 5: Are There Off-Limit Topics for YA & MG Novels?

STATUS: It’s Friday. Over and out!

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? YOU MAKE LOVING FUN by Jewel

In Episode 5, I tackle the #1 question when it comes to young adult and middle grade!

I’d say “enjoy” but technical difficulties are making it impossible to upload!

I’ll try again tomorrow. We might have Fridays With Kristin on Monday. LOL.

It’s really Saturdays with Kristin…. I think I finally got it to work.

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13 Responses

  1. Carmen Webster Buxton said:

    Someone asked that question at a conference once, and the answer from (I think) Barry Goldblatt was the only two things you didn’t want to do in YA were the 2 B’s: boring and bestiality.

  2. laurathewise said:

    Boring and bestiality!!! Haha that’s great!

    My attitude is that YA readers are going to grow up someday, and many of them are already more grown up than you might think. I think they have the maturity and the need to read about and think about more controversial/difficult topics.

  3. graywave said:

    Funnily enough, I was thinking about E4’s YA sci-fi TV series “Misfits” today and thinking about the question of what, if anything, would be out of bounds for that show. The answer is probably, “Nothing.”

    As I recall, as a teenager, I can’t think of any subject that was actually out of bounds for my friends and me. Which is probably as it should be for enquiring young minds.

  4. Tellulah Darling said:

    While Misfits is a brilliant show, it doesn’t hold a candle in terms of “out of bounds”, to the UK show The Inbetweeners. And yet, that show feels absolutely genuine and true. In my opinion, that’s the key. Make it stem from character and be true to their experience.

  5. Charmaine Clancy said:

    I hope there are no off-limit topics in YA fiction – but that they should be addressed responsibly (if a teen girl is going to be handing out the goods to the entire football team, there’s bound to be consequences). MG is a bit more questionable, with a similar thought to PG movies.
    I do think if an author would like to push the expected boundaries of what is acceptable, the polite thing would be to make it known before the book is read.
    Wagging Tales

  6. Pat Anvil said:

    I think this is not just about being rated PG or PG-13 thing.

    It’s a basic thing of what your target audience will be interested in.

    I remember giving a chapter of my YA novel (very clean chapter) to an eleven year old I’m related to and asking her what she thought of it.

    She said, “boring.” Then I gave the same chapter to the same girl when she was 14 and I had to get her mother’s permission to give her the whole book.

    There is sex, pagan rituals, murder, homosexuality, and material that could be considering insulting to three major religions…

    Her mother gave her okay and the the girl read it one sitting saying that it was the most fun read she had in years…

    The thing is teenagers are interested in those “controversial matters” which are not controversial at all if you ask me.

    Not to write about them or editing them out, is lying, and teens spot lies a mile away.

    When they become adults they start believing lies but when they are on the cusp of adulthood they still have this innate ability to smell a rat.

    Or is it the other way around? Once we lose this ability, we become adults?

    Anyway. I’m dying to hear what Kristin has to say!

    Come on YouTube!

    By the way a whole bunch of social media is experiencing problems. Twitter is as good as down – massive problems.

  7. Farmer Kidd said:

    It’s all in the approach…absolutely! MG readers today are the YA of tomorrow. Life is full of wonders and terrors, both awesome and fearsome. For writing to remain true, it must be able to encapsulate the entire spectrum. It’s the reason, and the finessing that will determine the author’s success. Here’s to brave authors creating new work of literary art.

  8. Bonnee said:

    Love the way it’s about asking the right question 🙂 I believe anything is acceptable anywhere if it’s in good taste; the character/plot development and not just there for the sensational/shot value.

  9. Roxanne Skelly said:

    I rather like the counter question to this one. What difficult topics are good to include in stories. IMHO, people fall in love with books because the books mean something to them. The stories help them through hard times, or provide them with examples on how to conquer problems. (And if people fall in love with books, they’ll buy them and tell their friends to buy them, which is always good).

    Good topics for YA? What challenges are YA folk facing today.
    * Bullying
    * Abuse
    * Feeling ‘different’
    * Feeling powerless
    * Sexuality and romantic feelings
    * loss

    There are many more. I’d say don’t hold back. Chat with YA folk, find out the extent of the problems they are facing, and write to that.

  10. Cholisose said:

    I’m really liking these videos, and this is a great topic! Personally I’ve really liked how YA books have been able to tackle so many big issues. These are often the most interesting books!

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