Young Adulteration

By EUGENIA WILLIAMSON  |  September 21, 2011

Later that month, Katie Crouch and Grady Hendrix, co-authors of a YA series called the Magnolia League, wrote a lighthearted piece for Slate in which they talked about how comparatively easy and profitable it is to write fiction about magical Southern debutantes for preteens — or, as they put it, getting "good money to be literary predators and come for people's children. Only we do it with a nice marketing campaign." A significant number of commenters lambasted the writers for being irreverent and suggesting that the task of writing YA fiction wasn't always a deathly serious undertaking.

Of course, there are few things more compelling in American life than Our Children and The Market. To talk about YA literature as an adult is to engage meaningfully with both.

In a way, this gives it a leg up over the some adult commercial fiction — when a grownup reads Nora Roberts, she's just another romance reader. But if she picks up Twilight, she's tapping into the zeitgeist.

Eugenia Williamson can be reached at

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