The New York Times

Children's Books: Essay

NO TOPIC IS OFF LIMITS IN A YOUNG ADULT NOVEL. EXCEPT, PERHAPS, RELIGION AND FAITH.

A persistent question for those of us who write young adult literature is, What are we notallowedto do or say when writing for teenagers?

I usually answer with an anecdote about a near-crisis at my publisher nine years ago, regarding a single use of the F-word in my second novel (the F-word remained). Now, I say, we are long past that worry. A writer can go as dark and violent as it gets (see “The Hunger Games”). Sex is more than fine (see all of B.T. Gottfred’s giddy, explicit novels). Graphic, instructive, erotic, romantic, disappointing: Bring it all on! Even better, current Y.A. novels now have many L.G.B.T.Q. protagonists (see Meredith Russo’s “If I Was Your Girl”),

This article originally appeared in .

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The New York Times

The New York Times6 min readTech
10 Tips to Avoid Leaving Tracks Around the Internet
Google and Facebook collect information about us and then sell that data to advertisers. Websites deposit invisible “cookies” onto our computers and then record where we go online. Even our own government has been known to track us. When it comes to
The New York Times6 min read
From Your Mouth to Your Screen, Transcribing Takes the Next Step
(Circuits) Improvements in automatic speech transcription are beginning to have a significant impact on the workplace.
The New York Times7 min read
Ali Wong Is Crossing Lines Again,This Time in a Book
The star of two uproarious Netflix comedy specials is nervous about how people will react to her essay collection. “I hope my siblings don’t get pissed at me,” she says.