Sara Stevenson understands the real reasons for depression and the positive power of fiction. Published in the Wall St. Journal!
Regarding Steve Salerno’s “The Unbearable Darkness of Young Adult Literature” (op-ed, Aug. 29): As a middle-school librarian, I don’t understand Mr. Salerno’s criticism of the darker offerings in recent young adult (YA) literature. A certain subset of young adults has always been attracted to books about social difficulty, just as adults enjoy reading about characters struggling through trauma and adversity.
Certainly these books aren’t to blame for the uptick in depressed and suicidal teens. Rather it is our alienating society, the increased sense of isolation and cyberbullying due to smartphones and social media, and our culture’s ever-widening income disparity that place more children at risk.
As a school librarian, I offer students the books they want to read, and as long as certain students are interested in these books and find them cathartic, our school library will continue to offer them along with the “Harry Potter,” “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games” series, and any other trend. Our vocation is to develop lifelong readers. Adults who identify as readers vote at higher rates and are more involved in their communities.