aka YA Literature

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blog for Choice Day

Today is Blog for Choice Day, and I wanted to participate. I don't know what Holly and Cody's opinions are on this issue, so this only represents my beliefs.

I read this article by Kristen Nichols mentioned on Ypulse a few weeks ago and thought it was very relevant to the issue of choice as depicted in YA lit. The article is from ALAN Review and is called "Facts and Fictions: Teen Pregnancy in Young Adult Literature." It's a very interesting article all around. Nichols looked at how teen pregnancy is depicted in YA lit, and one of the things she found is that abortion is not depicted in YA lit in proportion to the percentage of real teens who actually choose it (about 40% of pregnant teens choose abortions, whereas only 20% of the books she evaluated did, and then one of those 2 books had the main character forced to have an abortion against her will). Also, the books inaccurately portray the class issues around who chooses to get an abortion. In reality, it is mostly white, middle- and upper-class teens who choose to get abortions, and this is not reflected in YA lit.

I think it's great that girls can see that there are viable choices besides abortion available to them, but I think that we probably need more books that depict abortion as it really happens too. From the retrospective literature review at the beginning of the article, it seems that teen fathers were not widely depicted as participating in teen pregnancy issues, but I think that with newer books like Slam, this is changing. YA lit should reflect the experiences of real teens, and teens should be able to see themselves in the books they read.

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