Recently I read a book blogger's site and noticed a post stating the blogger didn't want to read sex or profanity in teen fiction. This opinion isn't just the blogger's, but several school districts banned John Green's award winning novel Looking for Alaska because of the book's two-page fellatio scene.
I can understand we don't want to see explicit sex in young adult novels because there's plenty of that in Fifty Shades for closet sex addicts. I read all three myself. And personally I don't like to see the "F" word used in every other sentence in any book I'm reading. That doesn't mean that occasional expletives don't add realism to the character's voice. If it's appropriate, then obscenities can add punch to dialogue or a character's internals or intensify a character's emotions. If profanity is overused or not used appropriately, it loses its power, and makes the author look like a neophyte.
IMO, profanity isn't necessary in a lot of teen fiction, but if they're in high school and the work is dramatic then it doesn't seem realistic if the kids don't occasionally drop a four-letter word.
Getting back to the blogger's and schools' tastes in teen fiction, let's discuss violence. Lord of the Flies is required middle school reading. Clockwork Orange was required at the high school I attended. So we as a society push violence over intimacy? It's an important commentary of today's culture and an important discussion we as parents should explore and discuss with our public educators and even bloggers.
Interesting enough, the Bible is acceptable material in all the schools I've ever come across. So explicit sex, extreme violence, and lascivious behavior is acceptable in a religious context but not in teen fiction? Doesn't this seem hypocritical? I read the old and new testaments when I was ten and remember thinking that I'd gotten a hold of the raciest book of all time. It's still one of my all time favorite reads.
The blogger sited earlier gave five stars to The Hunger Games, so I can only assume that violence is okay with this individual. The schools seem to think so too. I'm a fan as well of the series. But is that what we want to say to our children? Killing other children is okay but being intimate with another individual is not okay? Telling a story with sex, and I'm not saying Fifty Shades level of detail, can help teen's explore a new and foreign--or not so foreign--world to them in a safe, non-threatening environment.
What do you think?
Author of Date with the Dead (No sex or expletives but will leave open the option to explore them in other works)