Literature for teenagers?
I’ve been thinking about the possibility of a literature for teenagers. Is such a thing possible?
Whenever I visit my local bookstore I see lots of books aimed at teenagers. They are usually termed YA. They seem to be presented in perfect packages filled with stories of interest to teenagers. Fantasy. Love. Adventure. School. Crime. Romance. But they often seem too deliberate, too knowing, too cool, too well packaged. The authors have no doubt written a great story and worked hard but they seem too thought out. The author set out to write a YA novel.
Literature always strikes me as being less deliberate. More organic. A thing that grows out of the author without their consent, like a wonderful weed. A thistle maybe. It pricks at the writer and forces itself onto the page.
The two novella that I am working on presently both have a teenage protagonist. I’m not sure why, their stories came to be most clearly. They shone bright in my imagination. Maybe it’s because my teenage years were difficult. Whose weren’t? Does that make these stories YA? I never set out to write YA. I don’t aim write in a genre really. I write the story as it arrives. I make no concession for the reader as I write.
This brings me back to my opening question. Is a modern literature for teenagers, that isn’t deliberate or knowingly written, possible? Would teenagers want to read it?