Kristi over at The Story Siren recently had a bout with "hate mail". You can read the details at her post if you want to read the whole letter. While the whole thing in general is awful (in my opinion) there is a particular section that I wanted to point out:
"Aren't you too old to read teen books. They are aimed at young people. You old bloggers need to give up and let the real teen voices be heard. How can you have the same views as a teen when you are not one."
Say WHAT? Before I spout off myself here, I want to point out this post at Worducopia that pretty much sums up a lot of how I feel about this. So let's move on.
I mean, wow. Reactions like this make me sad. Who are you to decide what books someone else has a right to read? So what if someone wants to read books that are aimed a young people?
Although I generally don't like sharing personal information on here (it is the internet after all) I will say this. I'm 22, which isn't that much younger the Kristi. And I read Young Adult lit. Apparently I'm too old?
So here's my take on the whole thing. I read YA because I enjoy it. I read a lot of children's, middle grade, and adult books too. But I don't have to read any of those just because of my age. I started reading YA when I was in high school, and I still enjoy many of those books. Just because a book has a teen protagonist doesn't mean that only teens can read it. I personally find a lot of adult books too graphic/smutty/dry for my taste. Not to say that there aren't some great adult books out there. There are. I'm just not one who enjoys searching through the adult stacks, especially when I almost always find something in the teen section right away (and I usually enjoy it more).
Now getting back to the review bit. I've always felt that people shouldn't bash others for their reviews because, hello, a review is just someone's opinion. Since I'm an "old blogger" are my reviews of YA books eclipsing real "teen voices"? I don't think so. Look at the reviews on Amazon.com. The very first opinions you will read are professional publications and they are written by, wait for it, adults! Whether or not the book is YA, kids, or whatever. But those aren't the only reviews you will find on the page. Everyone else has thrown in their two cents too.
Can you ever have too many reviews to the point where one review causes someone else to "not be heard"? I personally like to read multiple reviews of a book, because not everyone will like what I like and I won't always like what everyone else likes. No one review is more important that another (although some get more attention). I write my reviews from the perspective of being able to share my thoughts, not to bash other people's reviews. So how can I be squashing authentic "teen voices"? I have no problem with those voices being heard. Go ahead and share! Just do it in a manner that is respectful of other people's opinions.
In many ways I feel the one of the huge disadvantages of the internet is that so many people use it as an excuse to be mean. We as a society as so rude! And it's even worse when people can hide behind the anonymity of a screen name or profile. They think because we don't have face to face contact it gives them an excuse to mean/rude/whatever. This is not okay with me, which is one of the reasons why although I allow anonymous comments, I do moderate any comments that veer into personal attacks. You can disagree with someone's opinions without being nasty about it.
Anyway, that's my position. Looking back this post doesn't make a lot of sense. So disconnected rambling over now, I promise.