Trashy Teen Novels: What are
Your Kids Reading?
Courtesy of BattleCry.com
What are your kids reading? What you don’t know may
shock you. Book publishers trying to keep young people’s
attention are taking cues from the sex-charged playbook of today’s
Some books for young people are full of not-so-innocent material
while making their way on to bestsellers lists and into your child’s
Several books in the Gossip Girls series hit number
one on the New York Times children’s book list.
Intended for young girls, the series has been likened to “Sex
and the City” for the younger generation. It details teen
characters’ exploits in sex, money, drugs, alcohol, and
other dramas of high society teenage living. Young readers are
eating it up.
Another book, Rainbow Party, made waves among critics
when it debuted earlier this year. The plot deals with the subject
of oral sex and how a group of girls’ plans to host an oral
sex party. Paul Ruditis, the writer of the book, states, “We
just wanted to present an issue kids are dealing with.”
Is this a good way to engage teens in a conversation about oral
sex? Not everyone agrees. One eighteen year old reader comments,
“Not only is this book devoid of any literary merit, it
is an extremely unrealistic look at the adolescent world. I realize
that oral sex is rampant among young teens, but to have an ‘issue
that needs to be confronted,’ as some reviewers have referred
to it, presented in such a substandard way is doing a disservice
to our teens.”
Other more critically acclaimed books dive into issues sure to
raise eyebrows among parents. Teach Me takes a look into
the relationship between a high school senior and her English
teacher; he also happens to be her lover. Claiming Georgia Tate
tells the story of a girl trapped in the home of an abusive and
Russell Nelson, author of Teach Me, defends current
trends of teen books by saying, “I feel like it fills an
important niche in moving the readers to a higher level of maturity.”
Though girl-oriented works dominate the young adult genre, books
geared towards guys have their share of questionable material.
Following the gore and guts themes of popular video games, books
like Cirque du Freak and Demonata attract boys
with morbid tales of vampires, demons, and other supernatural
Young adult books are geared towards young people eighth grade
and older, and some are written for kids as young as nine, yet
many seem more appropriate for adults.
Are kids ready to read this material? Adolescent psychiatrist
Dr. John Sargent doesn’t think so. “They [parents]
buy it, thinking they are doing something nice for their kid,
when, in fact, they have no clue what it is they’re exposing
their kid to.”
Be a protective filter for your kids. In a world of technology
and media excess, it may be good for kids and teenagers to be
exposed to a variety of writing, but not at the expense of their
innocence. Try reading books they want to read first or find reviews
for them online. Ask yourself, “Does this book reflect the
values I am raising my children to live by?”
Can’t find a suitable alternative for them to read? We
recommend these Christian
books your teens will enjoy.
MSNBC, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Amazon.com, SFGate.com,
Gossipgirl.net, The Register-Guard, PluggedIn, Darrenshan.com
Read youth culture news, youth ministry articles, and join the
fight for America’s young people at http://www.battlecry.com.
Article reprinted with permission.
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