Naomi Wolf's article "Young Adult Fiction: Wild Things" (New York Times Book Review, 3/12/06) is getting some airplay. In that piece, Wolf considers the Gossip Girl, A-List, and Clique series of books for teenaged girls. After mentioning last year's controversial Rainbow Party, which did not sell well despite all the media talk, Wolf writes,
But teenagers, or their parents, do buy the bad-girls books — the "Clique," "Gossip Girl" and "A-List" series have all sold more than a million copies. And while the tacky sex scenes in them are annoying, they aren't really the problem. The problem is a value system in which meanness rules, parents check out, conformity is everything and stressed-out adult values are presumed to be meaningful to teenagers. The books have a kitsch quality — they package corruption with a cute overlay.
Since we're in a Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent mode around here, I can't comment on the "bad-girls books," which I have not read. Other bloggers are on the scene, though, and I share a few links here to some cyber-chat: Sarah Weinman at GalleyCat, Roger Sutton at Read Roger, Australia's Read Alert, Gail Gauthier at Original Content, Kelly Herold at Big A little a, and Tasha Saecker at Kids Lit.