Criteria for Juvenile and YA Classifications Under Review


I noticed that an entity formally called the “Book Industry Study Group” is reviewing the criteria for Juvenile and YA classifications. While it’s impossible to please virtually any reader’s perception of what a category should or should not contain (“contain” and not “allow”), I’ll leave this to folks a lot smarter than I am to make their own assessments.

In YA in particular, what subjects are currently not discussed in the category? I remember what an uproar Judy Blume caused decades ago when she broached the topic of female masturbation. Today, there are YA books that appeal to the entire LGBT market, as well as comprehensively discussing self-mutilation, BDSM, rape, incest, and a few other unsavory topics. I guess the only thing missing is bestiality.

In no way am I lumping any of this together related to sexual persuasion, which is neither any of my business nor concern. My purpose for grouping these subjects in one sentence is solely to illustrate the width and breadth of what is now covered in YA. The recent uptick in New Adult, which is actually a category that has been around for a while, should solve the crossover issue to a large degree.  But I don’t see many books published under the NA subset. Maybe more emphasis should be made on NA and then YA can get back to being the category as we once knew it.

I’m also hoping that Juvenile material will have better delineation, as I don’t believe the violence in the genre (which I find to be the main issue) serves a purpose. However, with what’s on TV and video games, I might be in the Dark Ages on suggesting a compass for any of this. And, again, I mean nothing whatsoever disparagingly toward any member of the LGBT community.

My point is that sexual issues had not been openly discussed in YA in the past at the level at which these subjects appear in the material today. Regardless, I’m issuing an apology upfront to anyone who might be offended, and I sincerely mean this.  My issue rests solely with detailing the criteria behind the classifications.

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