The New York Times

Children's Books: Essay

NO TOPIC IS OFF LIMITS IN A YOUNG ADULT NOVEL. EXCEPT, PERHAPS, RELIGION AND FAITH.

A persistent question for those of us who write young adult literature is, What are we notallowedto do or say when writing for teenagers?

I usually answer with an anecdote about a near-crisis at my publisher nine years ago, regarding a single use of the F-word in my second novel (the F-word remained). Now, I say, we are long past that worry. A writer can go as dark and violent as it gets (see “The Hunger Games”). Sex is more than fine (see all of B.T. Gottfred’s giddy, explicit novels). Graphic, instructive, erotic, romantic, disappointing: Bring it all on! Even better, current Y.A. novels now have many L.G.B.T.Q. protagonists (see Meredith Russo’s “If I Was Your Girl”),

This article originally appeared in .

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The New York Times

The New York Times6 min read
How to Protect Your DNA Data Before and After Taking an at-Home Test
Consumer DNA testing kits like those from 23andMe, Ancestry.com and MyHeritage promise a road map to your genealogy and, in some cases, information about what diseases you’re most susceptible to. They also ask for a lot of trust with your DNA informa
The New York Times15 min readTech
The Making of a YouTube Radical
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Caleb Cain pulled a Glock pistol from his waistband, took out the magazine and casually tossed both onto the kitchen counter. “I bought it the day after I got death threats,” he said. The threats, Cain explained, came from right-
The New York Times5 min read
No Longer All Sweetness and Light
Zendaya jumps from Disney to drug binges in HBO’s graphic “Euphoria.” In an interview, the longtime Disney Channel star discusses her “scary” move into explicit, provocative television.