All YA Is #MorallyComplicatedYA

Hello guys! So IDK if you’ve heard but Twitter has blown up once again at least in the book world. Why you ask? Because of an author who got a 6 figure publishing deal (yay!) who took a swing at YA authors and readers (boo!). The article that started it is YA Debut Gets Six-Figure Deal, Sold to 16 Territories and Jerry Bruckheimer and it features some interestingly horrible thoughts/words like (and I quote):

“The morality of the book is more complicated than a lot of YA so I wanted to try doing it on my own,” Bergstrom* said. “In a lot of YA, the conflict takes place inside a walled garden, set up by outside adult forces. If you think of those stories as a metaphor for high school, they start to make a lot more sense, but that was one thing I wanted to depart from.”

Guywhohasn’treadYAsaywhat? Like, SERIOUSLY? Now everyone rightly hated/hates this. Who wouldn’t? Every YA author is out there saying “thanks for pigeonholing my book” and then “what do you mean by book is not complex?” Like, are you seriously going to tell me that Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Throne of Glass, The Young Elites to name a few are not complex? That their morality is not complicated? Have you even read YA? Do you not see anything within YA fantasy or contemporary at the very least that is morally complicated? Because from just those two sub genres of YA you can read about every problem known to man from dragons to drugs. 

Oh but wait there’s more!

Bergstrom’s heroine is Gwendolyn Bloom, a Jewish, slightly overweight 17-year-old, who is transformed into a “lean warrior with hair dyed fire-engine red,” during her mission to rescue her father, a kidnapped diplomat.

Now let’s talk about the fact that he had his heroine turn from overweight to lean for a mission? I mean it’s not that bad – people can do what they wish with their body when they wish to do so- but it’s the next part, “warrior” that’s gotten me and everyone else worked up; is he implying that to be a warrior you can’t be overweight (or just skinny for that matter)? Are you saying that anyone who isn’t lean (and yes that’s different than just skinny) isn’t a warrior? Can you tell that to everyone out there with body issues any louder because I don’t think we heard you and your horrible words.

Next on the list of not annoyances but just “why?” questions is the “hair dyed fire engine red” part. Like, what is that going to do for me? It’s definitely not going to make me want to read your book more (especially after everything else you’ve said) so I don’t understand the necessity of adding it in to your synopsis.

Now that’s the end of this rant as I’ve nothing else to say (at least in words…you can take the steam blowing out my ears any way you want) so I bid you adieu and beseech you to think more on this. Furthermore, I ask you to make as big of a deal about this as you can because Scott* needs to know that this is not just something to go away or something to fix with a sorry. Thank you, have a great day/night and tata for now.

*this is the author being interviewed


9 Comments on “All YA Is #MorallyComplicatedYA”

  1. Pingback: 2015 End of Year Wrap Up and Survey | Avid Reader

  2. As a writer I don’t like to diss other writers (which is one of the reasons I won’t post negative reviews of books I’ve read), so I find it incredible that Scott Bergstrom feels at liberty to do so. To make such sweeping and erroneous statements about YA shows not only a poor understanding of the field, but an arrogance that is almost stupefying. I can’t judge his book because I haven’t read it, but from the description of it in the articel I don’t actually see anything that is new or exceptional here. What I do see (and this is only my opinion) is something written by a man who has no sense of his audience. This sounds more like a book for stereotypical geeky guys. You know the ones: they live in their parents’ basements, eat junk food, play video games and have never been out on a date in their lives. (I’m being a little facetious here.) Bergstrom’s book certainly doesn’t seem aimed at the YA readers I have come to know and respect, the intelligent, passionate, and devoted readers (many of whom are also aspiring writers) who show an enthusiasm for the written word that I don’t believe is matched by any other area of the literary world. There’s a reason why YA is big now, and that’s one hundred percent because of its wonderful readers.

    To be fair, I think that every writer is convinced that he/she has written something unique and special (and I include myself in that); but there is actually very little that’s new under the sun. The fact that Bergstrom’s book is described as being a pastiche of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” “The Bourne Identity,” and “Homeland,” in fact suggests that it isn’t particularly original at all. What he appears to be trying to do is turn adult fiction into YA fiction in an attempt to cash in on what is the biggest market for books these days. But from my point of view that shows a decided lack of understanding of YA readers, who read YA because it offers something adult fiction doesn’t. In fact, based on what one can garner from the article, it sounds like Bergstrom’s book was written to get a movie deal — all action and visuals and shock value. In that respect he has obviously succeeded.

    I imagine this book will sell well because it has already generated controversy and many will pick it up on the strength of that alone, simply to see what all the fuss is about. Even if it flops, Bergstrom has already been rewarded handsomely — something that, sadly, seldom happens for most writers these days. (The advance I received for my novel was in the low five figures, and I’m afraid I’ve yet to hear from Hollywood about a big movie deal. 😉 )

    I didn’t get into writing YA, however, because I thought it was going to make me rich (although that would certainly be nice — Hey, I can’t lie). What attracted me to the field was the dynamic of the readers (as stated above) and all the great stories being told that I hadn’t found in the rest of the literary world — which doesn’t mean to say that there aren’t great stories being told in other categories of fiction. Indeed, my own reading is broad and eclectic, from Middle Grade to YA to adult, stretching from mainstream to fantasy to science fiction.

    As I would any writer, I wish Scott Bergstrom well and good luck (although already appears to have had plenty of it). I just wish he hadn’t found it necessary to dump all over the many other fine and brilliant writers of YA. Regardless of what he may believe, we all worked hard on our books and did our best to make them as original as possible because we care about our readers and want to give them their money’s worth when they honor us by reading our work. There’s plenty of room in this field for everyone, and it’s not necessary to disparage the efforts of others in order to promote your own work. Let it stand on its own merits and let the readers be the judge. They are, after all, the people who sustain us, and the moment we lose sight of that is the moment we are doomed as writers.

    Anyway, that’s my two cents worth.

    Happy reading everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am honestly speechless. I don’t have anything to say except the stupid/usual “wow” and “I totally agree” but know that my mouth is half open in shock and respect. Thank you very much for your kind words about us readers and very much appreciated that you even commented at all. Also, I can definitely stand and agree with you/your opinion! Thank you and happy writing and reading!!


  3. Apparently an overweight Jewish girl is not capable of moral complexity. She must get skinny and red-haired and go on a killing spree — that’ll do it. Bet Jerry Bruckheimer puts her in low-cut spandex for the film.

    Liked by 1 person

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