Teen fiction is not a genre.
Just like adults and children, teens have varied reading tastes. There are teens who love fantasy. There are teens who love realistic fiction - be it of the bubbly gummy, angsty or truly troubling variety. There are teens who love horror. There are teens who love Manga. There are teens who love science fiction. There are teens who love all sorts of different kinds of literature, and there are teens who like to stick to just one or two of the above listed genres. Much like adults, teens can go from reading a chic-litty romance novel (Twilight) to a dystopian science fiction (The Hunger Games) to a classic (The Outsiders).
One thing that I think is true is that teens are more open to reading a wider variety of books than adults. Most adults have their genre - be it romance or western - and most every bookstore or library has worked to subdivide the fiction collection to cater to their reading interests and separate out "their books" so that they know exactly where to go to look for books to fit their reading interests. With teens, more often than not, all books - except maybe for Manga - all of the books are listed alphabetically by author. Teens hunt and peck for authors they know, covers that look cool, specific recommendations from friends or the librarian and eventually stumble out of the stacks with something to take home. For some teens, it's all Manga or all fantasy, but most like to hop around and try different things. It's Gossip Girl one week, and Thirteen Reasons Why the next.
I love that teens can be so open to new reading experiences and don't put false limits on what they think they want to read, just because a spine label tells them what genre a given book is.
But what was my point? When I started this post it was because one particular line of the article jumped out at me:
And it's not all Harry Potter or the "Twilight" series (think "Dracula" with acne and angst.)
In all of my reading of young adult fiction there's angst galore, for certain. I mean, the characters are teens, and teens do angst best. But where has all the acne gone? Seriously. As a teenager, acne (along with parents who just don't understand what it's like to be a teenage) was one of the largest sources of my angst. But nobody seems to have acne anymore. Twilight certainly was NOT Dracula with acne and angst. This is true for many reasons, not the least of which is that the two books have nothing in common aside from a vampire protagonist. But there was no acne to be found! The only recent book I've read in which I even recall the mention of acne was the ARC for Justine Larbalestier's Liar. What is up with that? Why aren't there articles written about the demise of teen acne lit? Am I the only person who has noticed this shocking trend?
Better get the Wall Street Journal on the phone. This article is going to be big.