Wednesday, May 25, 2016

YA is NOT Dumbed-Down Adult Fiction

Last week, it was announced that Dan Brown is currently working on a special YA version of his mega-bestseller The Da Vinci Code. As you can imagine, this sparked a lot of conversation—much of it incredulous.
It isn't clear exactly what will be different about the YA-specific version of the book, other than the fact that it will be "abridged." What does that mean, exactly? Hard words taken out? Sex scenes removed? The religious/historical aspects toned down? All of those can be found in YA novels, so the whole concept has many people confused.

In the interest of full disclosure, I wasn't a particular fan of the original. But the idea of changing a book that's perfectly readable for young adults (I was nineteen when I read it, and I know plenty of people who were younger!) is just insulting.

There's a pervasive attitude that young adults aren't smart or sophisticated enough to understand adult fiction. This couldn't be further from the truth. Sure, there are plenty of simple, uncomplicated books in YA... but just like adult fiction, there's a whole range (surely no one's going to argue that most category romances are dense or difficult to understand?). YA novels often feature beautiful, well-written prose, plenty of literary devices, and complex social and moral issues. Show me someone who thinks all YA is simplistic, and I'll show you someone who hasn't read widely in the category.

Time will tell if young adults flock to the "abridged" version of The Da Vinci Code like Brown and his publisher are hoping. But I think I'll stick to YA written by people who don't talk down to their audience.

1 comment:

  1. I read about this and gave the biggest eye roll my face would allow. Seems like a ploy to make some more $$ by getting it shelved in a new section of the book store, but the general backlash consensus has been that it's just plain insulting to young adults. Am I a bad person for hoping it fails?

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