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Discussion #1 Sex in Y.A. Fiction

Working as a Young Adult Librarian, I get this questions about this topic asked a lot. These are some of the questions that I am asked.


Most of the time it is the parents that come to me especially the ones that have a child that is transitioning from children's fiction to Y.A. I can understand a part of what the parent is trying to do because of the age of the child. Not all of my teens parents monitor what they read but the majority of them do. So I break it down for them

1.) Y.A. stands for Young Adult. It ranges from the ages of 12-18 but it is divided. 12-14 and 15-18. If the teen falls into the 12-14 bracket I take them to the middle school section in our childrens area because it is a lot easier to find some books that will appease both parent and teen.

2.) Not ALL Y.A. is explicit and have vulgar language. It may have a few curse words. The majority of it may have some type of high school slang or something around that area and mild language but not all Y.A. is the same. I really put emphasis on this because it seems to scare the parents and most of them all ready have a mindset of Y.A. being some big naughty genre when it is definitely not.

3.) I always ask what was their favorite book or what types of genres did the teens like when they were reading childrens fiction. I then try to find books parallel to what they like. That makes it a lot easier for me because it narrows a lot down.

Just yesterday there was some complaints about A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas and the detailed sex scenes that were written. It was mentioned to put it in our adult collection because of that but it is Young Adult fiction. We then put a sticker on it to say for mature teens.

To me, I'm all about the story. It doesn't matter if there are sex scenes in the story cause lets be honest...teens do have sex. The characters were 19 anyway so that makes them adults period. But as long as it doesn't take away from the story I am ok with that.

 Also, these are high school characters. A lot of us did some things in high school that we probably regret but it mold and shaped us for how we are now. I feel like if those things are not mentioned in the books it will make it less relateable for the teen reading it. I feel like if the teen is mature enough to read it then let the read whatever they want but I will not give Fifty shades to a 12 or 13 year old. I'm not saying that but do use the better judgement when it comes to that.

I'm open about your different opinions on this topic and maybe you guys could help me when explaining this to parents as well.

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