I like how Mary ties the denigration of YA books to our culture's tendency to denigrate adolescence. She writes:
Perhaps for some teens and young adults, adolescence was/is so excruciating that the thought of revisiting or delving into that time of life through fiction is just too much. For me, reading YA has been a decades-long process of reflecting on the teen years--my own and those of teens whose lives are completely different from mine. The books I read present teens who I wish I'd known when I was growing up. They are smart and worldly. Through their heartfelt efforts to make sense of a complex world, they actually show me the best of adolescence.
I wonder if everyone’s very strong opinions about this one segment of literature comes from our attitudes about the teen years? We fear them. We want teens to "get over it" quickly, and heck, let’s not mess with books that just dwell more on the teen years! Move on!
*If you haven't read Mary's novels A Room on Lorelei Street (Henry Holt, 2005) and The Adoration of Jenna Fox (Henry Holt, 2008), you should do so right now.