Welcome! I'm Riv Re, teenager and aspiring author. I post Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Tuesdays are for book reviews; Thursdays are for a weekly meme called "Character Dolls," which showcases character depictions I made online; and on Sundays I just wing it.
This blog is for my writing misadventures, my reviews, ramblings, and rants. My favorite genre is fantasy, so expect a lot of the unusual.

Warning: I've got an awful sense of humor. Don't blame me if you keel up and die from reading the jokes I crack.
Notice: I hold no responsibility for any deaths caused by previously mentioned jokes.

Enjoy and happy reading!

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Friday, June 10, 2011

On #YAsaves

Hey Blogger Buds,
I wish I could say that I'm the least bit sorry for posting on a Friday, on a hiatus day. But I'm too busy.
I'm too busy trying not to cry. Or scream. Or punch a certain so-called reporter in the face.
I'm too busy trying not to do all three to care that today is Friday and I'm on hiatus.
(Also, I publicly apologize to my keyboard, for the abuse it's going to suffer as I write this.)

You've most definitely heard about that sorry excuse for an article, "Darkness Too Visible" by the Wall Street Journal. And I'm not even going to give you a link to it, because that would help its Google Page Rank, and possibly subject more people to that absolute garbage (and garbage isn't my preferred word) by bringing it higher on the Google Search List. (It's at 8 out of 10 already.)
I'm a teen. And I could rip this article apart. Viciously. Because I can speak. And I can speak loudly. I can scream it all at that witch, that so-called reporter, "She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named-Without-Feeling-The-Need-To-Wash-My-Mouth-Out-With-Soap Gurdon". I recently read through a handful of articles and blog posts about it. I have Twitter open right now, in a separate tab, searching #yasaves and every couple of minutes it tells me there's another 5 tweets, and I should refresh the window to read them.

I pity She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. I pity her and her sick, twisted, corrupted little mind.
Because #YAsaves.

I have no personal stories I would like to share, but I do have a few choice words on a few lower-than-dirt words from that thing called a well-researched article that the WSJ should be ashamed to have published. I'm trying to read the article again. It's painful to get through. *Takes a deep breath* Here's a "favorite" paragraph of mine:
If books show us the world, teen fiction can be like a hall of fun-house mirrors, constantly reflecting back hideously distorted portrayals of what life is. There are of course exceptions, but a careless young reader—or one who seeks out depravity—will find himself surrounded by images not of joy or beauty but of damage, brutality and losses of the most horrendous kinds.
I'm so tempted to throw this analogy back in her face. Okay, I will, I can't hold myself back. "A hall of funhouse mirrors" is really the best You-Know-Who can come up with? (Sorry, Voldy, for degrading you so by sharing the fond nickname.) Her brain is a hall of fun-house mirrors! YA books reflect the world better than the highest quality mirror. Miss Gurdon, YA is clearer than you. You may have lived the perfect life and, maybe, compared to your life of perfection and naivety, YA lit is dark. But for the rest of us, the books just help us see the world in a much clearer way. YA sharpens the blurry edges, and shows us the real word, because the real word is "dark" and "edgy," like those two stupid labels you give it. You are the fun-house mirror, twisting the world into the perfection you believe it is.
Next, she talks about how teens are either careless or "seek out depravity"? First off, teens are not careless. They know exactly what the book they're picking up is about. So they must be depraved,right? Well, newsflash: That's not called depravity. That's called help. That's called identifying with a character in a book who goes through the same thing as you.

And then? Then She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named attacks Rage.
In Jackie Morse Kessler's gruesome but inventive 2011 take on a girl's struggle with self-injury, "Rage," teenage Missy's secret cutting turns nightmarish after she is the victim of a sadistic sexual prank. "She had sliced her arms to ribbons, but the badness remained, staining her insides like cancer. She had gouged her belly until it was a mess of meat and blood, but she still couldn't breathe." Missy survives, but only after a stint as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
I'm sickened. This is not called gruesome and inventive. THIS IS CALLED REAL LIFE.

This next bit really stuck out for me, on the first read.
The argument in favor of such novels is that they validate the teen experience, giving voice to tortured adolescents who would otherwise be voiceless...Yet it is also possible—indeed, likely—that books focusing on pathologies help normalize them and, in the case of self-harm, may even spread their plausibility and likelihood to young people who might otherwise never have imagined such extreme measures. 
YA novels help teens identify with others like them. A teen who is happy but enjoys reading about girls who cut isn't going to start cutting. It doesn't normalize it. Self-harm was normal long before cutting became a popular subject in YA lit. Oh and trust me on one thing, Miss Gurdon: we're not spreading it to anyone who has never imagined it already. It's a fact of life. A sad fact of life, but a fact of life, and self-harm is nothing new for teenagers.

I can't. I can't go any farther in the article. It's making me sick. This "reporter" makes me sick. The 400 people who said, on the poll, that YA is harmful not helpful don't make me sick, though. Because I want to give them a hug. Because there's something wrong with them if they say that.

I'm done, but check out what others have to say.
Click to embiggen
YA Highway's Roundup
#YAsaves Twitter Feed
Sherman Alexie, Author of Diary of a Part-Time Indian on Why the Best Books Are Written In Blood

I'm going to ask a question, as I sometimes do, but this one isn't directed at all of my readers. Its directed at one individual:

Meghan Cox Gurdan, how DARE you?

*goes to wash mouth out with soap*

And I'm going to close off with a last link, to Barry Lyga, because he said the three words to Miss Gurdon that I'm too polite to say.

Peace and YA forever,


  1. Here, here, Riv!! I agree with you completely, but try not to let this Meghan haglet get you so worked up, k? This woman is clearly naive and doesn't read YA and doesn't know the strength aand unity its readers can gain within themselves and others, how it allows people to bond. Warrant some YA books are just trying to make girls swoon, the majority have real substance and relevance to teens all around the world. Meghan just, sadly, doesn't know what she is talking about. Was she the same person who said that The Hunger Games is teaching young kids how to kill? Because who ever said that, clearly missed the powerful message behind the trilogy.


  2. As a former cutter, I was pissed beyond words at her comments. How dare she judges YA books for a topic she knows nothing about. Books didn't turn me into a cutter (because it wasn't a topic that was talked about back then). I was a cutter because of something deeper. Books might have helped me deal with the pain and realize I wasn't alone. Unfortunately Meghan is too close minded to realize that.

  3. Wow, I am in the dark about this topic. Thanks for bringing it to the for front.

  4. It's nice that this article has generated such positive response for YA. It's backfired against the author. I think teens are naturally drawn to darker books. I had very happy teenage years(apart from teasing/bullying), but I loved books where the character was dying. It's an outlet for our fears.


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