I have a very good friend who writes about YA literature (as well as other genres) as a regular blogger. As such, I sometimes get lazy and simply think “What she said! That’s what I think.” Sometimes, it’s good to be a cheerleader for those who speak up and say what they feel about a subject–adding a “I completely agree with this” blog seems silly sometimes when people like this are so eloquent about it.

But when I read her blog about some NYTimes book review jerk who downplays an entire genre (YA lit) simply because it is “marketed to children and teens,” I go a little cross-eyed and rethink my stance on not commenting about some of these subjects. Others have already weighed in on his being a rather biased prick about certain books, so I won’t go into all the reasons he’s wrong, but I will say this: whatever you may think of a particular genre, be it YA lit, romance, mystery, memoirs, or whatever it may be, it’s never cool to insult the genre and its readers. Just because it isn’t your cup of tea doesn’t mean you need to insult those who love it.

Now, on to more constructive commentary on this subject. It has always fascinated me that people dismiss entire genres based on (if they’re good readers) a couple of books they’ve read that disappointed them in this genre or (not very good readers) what they’ve heard about that genre. I cringe to admit that I was one of those “I hate romance because the idea of focusing a whole story on love is stupid” readers; same thing happened with mystery.

When I realized that I really had no clue what I was talking about, I started reading books in different genres, just to get a feel for it. Do I like romance novels? Not so much, but now I can safely point to a number of books that I’ve read in the genre, say which ones I liked and didn’t like, and why. I’ve found, on the other hand, that I love mystery novels and I never would have unless I tried a wide range of them.

My point is: you can’t bitch about a genre or a series or a book or an author unless you’ve actually read their stuff. Also take into account that one book may not be indicative of an entire group. So don’t knock it till you’ve tried it, and don’t ruin it for the rest of us who love it.

I’m not saying reviewers or bloggers or critics shouldn’t give an honest evaluation of a work. But seriously? YA lit is for babies who don’t want to grow up? Way to alienate an entire reader base, dude.

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