YA Wednesday: Parents in YA — Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em?

badparentWhen I discover that one or both parents are dead in a YA novel, I don’t feel sad. I think, oh no, here we go again. As 10 Worn-out Cliches in YA states, “The death toll of parents in YA is staggering. If the heroine’s parents are lucky enough to be alive, they’re often negligent or clueless.”

Opinions vary widely as to what role parents should play in young adult fiction. Some folks want less, others more. Some think there are not enough good parents in YA. Some want more bad ones. And then there is the ambivalence of teens themselves. They want their parents out of the picture, until they want them here, right now. They think Mom and Dad suck at everything, until they are god-like. No wonder it’s so hard to know how to write parents in teen fiction.

I believe writers should depict parents in the way that best serves the story, irrespective of the constantly changing conventions of the genre. But the demands of the market are hard to ignore, and I struggled mightily with the depiction of the parents in my YA novel. Here are some thoughts from other folks on this topic.

What do you think about parents in YA?

1 comment

  1. Bonnie Waltch

    Great post, Emily! And what a rich topic. I think Sarah Dessen does a good job representing families accurately, parents and all. Eager to explore all these links – thanks!

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