There are certainly stories that I recoiled from when I was a young reader, so I’m not entirely dismissive of this concern, but it’s problematic to say in blanket fashion “thou shalt not read about X, Y, or Z, because (insert reason here).” Frankly, it’s amazing to me to see how many different constituencies want to ban books. With The Drowned Cities, with its focus on war and violence, there’s nothing in it that I consider problematic for high-school readers. These kids are within four years of being able to kill for their country. At eighteen, we’ll happily slap helmets their heads, give them guns, and encourage them to pull the trigger–and we’ll call them heroes. Our kids are bathed in war propaganda every day, whether it’s “support our troops” patriotic rhetoric, or recruitment advertisements for our armed forces. When the Marines no longer have an advertising budget, I’ll take the question of whether young adult fiction is too disturbing more seriously.
Paolo Bacigalupi on Darkness in YA. Check out the whole interview HERE.