The Wall Street Journal recently posted an essay about the brisk market for grim YA literature, wondering when the nation's teenagers became "connoisseurs of disaster". The author, Katie Roiphe, speculates that there might be a link between young readers' tastes and the national news:
"Right now, though, the motif of impending disaster—about a job that will be lost, a house that will be foreclosed, a case of swine flu that will sweep through the nation—looms large in our culture, and it may be no coincidence that the dominant ambiance of young-adult literature should be that of the car crash about to happen."To which I say: whatever. Does the author think a zillion teens in 1997 spent their allowances seeing Titanic for the third time because they were looking for metaphors about Congress debating phasing out the $1 bill? Because I think not. From Catherine Morland to the present, teenagers have always liked to read (and watch, and draw, and sing) about melodrama. If they're lucky they grow out of it.
If not, they turn to Oprah for further reading suggestions.