|pic from pinterest
You’ve probably seen this thing called Rebellious Writing going around blogsphere lately. It was started by Gray as a rebellion against all the horrible stuff in the YA genre these days. This movement is making me do the happy dance, because I believe clean YA is really, really important.
Books are amazing. Stories are powerful. I rambled on about that a few weeks ago. But while stories can be powerful in amazing ways by inspiring us to do good, they can also do the opposite. Imagine if all the glorious power stories have was used for the other extreme.
Ouch. That looks dark. That looks gritty. That looks dangerous.
And that is what’s happening to YA books today.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been an avid reader. Probably due to how my parents used to read to me every single night. I developed a great love for books and stories. As I started reading myself, I devoured books quicker and quicker.
Suddenly, my TBR pile started looking really small. I’d read about every book in the house (I was in middle school). I was a hungry for longer, more mature books. So I started pestering my mom to find more books for me. I’m incredibly thankful that, for the next years, she took the time to research books and make sure they were clean before giving them to me. I had to wait months sometimes (spoiler alert: I soon learned why my mom had to search for so long)
I reread the same books over and over.
The result of that?
I quickly got bored.
And the result of that?
I started reading less and becoming more convinced that decent books didn’t exist. God used this for good though, and I turned to writing my own stories, because I could keep them clean and include whatever I wanted. But my reading life was greatly shaken by that. There were hardly any books that I really liked, and my love for reading had died a great bit.
Things turned for the better when my mom discovered Dragons in Our Midst. And it was around that time that I started choosing my own books. And suddenly I realized just what a difficult job my mom had had in finding good ones.
I could find none.
Via my mom, I was all too aware that a majority of YA books held a bunch of junk. We would both search for hours, reading review after review to make sure I wasn’t going to read something that would get stuck in my head forever.
I feel extremely blessed to have kept away from all that bad stuff. But, again, it really took a toll on my reading life. I’m very, very, very wary of reading new books. I will research and ask around and spend a great deal of time trying to figure out if this book is clean or not. Even then, I’ll still get nervous before reading it, like I’m afraid to turn the page. (btw, I’m proud that I’m a discerning reader)
I love to read so much. Stories like Ilyon Chronicles and A Time to Die have had a really positive impact on my life. They’ve encouraged me, inspired me. Young adults need books that do that. But if they, like me, are afraid to pick up a book for fear that something unwholesome is in it, how will they find those good stories?
We won’t. We’ll be scared away from reading because we think that every story contains content that glorifies sin.
We do not need unclean books. Not at all. Yes, that stuff might exist in real life. But do we need it be shoved down our throats like some preachy message, only this a preachy message of evil? A message of glorifying sin and saying “this is real; this is normal. suck it up.” No. We don’t need that. Christians don’t just accept sin as the new norm and be okay with that. We resist.
Or, in this case, we rebel against all the horrible stuff being put in the YA genre these days.
So what if it’s only one page? One page of goodness can change your life as much as one scene of evil, inappropriate, plain wrong content can. Stuff like that doesn’t just leave your head. It stays there, and the next time you pick up a book, you’ll be afraid to turn a page for fear of the same thing happening to you again, more evil being preached at you, implying that it’s “normal.”
I’m not saying we want happy-go-lucky stories in which nothing bad happens. That would be unrealistic. But presenting sin as good and acceptable is also unrealistic, because sin is not good. Period. There is such a thing as right and wrong for a reason. Show it that way. Especially to teens, who are awakening to the world and need to know what is right and what is wrong. Twisting wrong into right is not only turning the YA genre into a mess that many of us are afraid to walk into, but is drawing us away from what should be a world of powerful storytelling that inspires us.
|image from Gray’s blog|