While cashiering at B&N one morning last week, a customer brought up the Faerie Queen books by Maggie Stiefvater. I was pretty thrilled, since Lisa and I have excitedly talked about them and although Lisa has beat me to reading Shiver (it’s been on my radar for quite a while) it’s definitely still high up on my reading list.
Anyway, while chatting with the customer I easily volunteered that I’d been wanting to read Lament for quite some time, even before I’d heard of Shiver. She said the reason she was picking up the Faerie series was because she’d bought Shiver for her daughter, who is 12 years old, and upon reading it herself, found that there was *SPOILER ALERT*a sex scene. Granted, we’re not talking erotica or anything. Likely it was a PG-13 movie type scene (Lisa would probably be able to better tell us, as she’s the one who read it). Of course, this disturbed the customer as a parent because although she enjoyed the book for herself, she didn’t think her twelve year old was ready to read something like that.
I found that comment interesting, since we’ve been talking about crossover fiction and its appeal. These books are clearly marketed to teens, but how young is too young for some of this material? I know around this time last year, a father brought the Gossip Girl series back into the store, wanting to return them. He’d bought them for his daughter before he had any real idea what they were about. Let’s just say he was less than thrilled with the content.
Of course, it’s important to note that kids nowadays are growing up much faster than in my day. Teen pregnancy is on the rise, so they obviously know a thing or two about sex, though they’re not well educated in protection and contraception. Does the recent acceptance of on the page sexuality (meaning no longer vaguely implied, but not necessarily graphically shown) promote sex to younger audiences or is it simply mirroring what teens already know?
And this isn’t the only book I’ve heard a few things about. I’ve heard that the House of Night Vampire series by Kristen and PC Cast is high in the sensuality/sexuality department. Older teens are definitely interested in that kind of sexual tension, but would I necessarily suggest them to an 11 year old? Especially if she were to go looking for more of PC Cast’s books only to find they’re VERY adult?
Is this the inevitable consequence of crossover fiction? Or just the reality of the evolution of young adults?
What are your thoughts?