Monday, November 23, 2009

Don't Take Me Seriously. Really.

I have a confession to make. I got a Gossip Girl book from the library, and then... wait for it... I read it. It's kind of like taking a pleasure walk in a lion's den or maybe running around in my underwear when a serial killer is on the loose. This kind of behavior is dangerous. It's just asking for trouble.

Yeah, I kinda liked the book. But before you conclude that I've been replaced by a pod person, let me remind you that I also love schlock TV if only because it's tres fun to talk smack at the screen. It's that kind of like.

The strange thing about Gossip Girl is that it breaks a lot of the "rules" of YA. We're told not to swear, and particularly to be careful of the dreaded F-bomb, in our YA mannies. If you use swear words, they need to be somehow necessary to the story you're telling. But characters in Gossip Girl swear about as often as they say the word "the." It's like being in some strange alternate reality when the Smurfs were replaced with the S--ts. I should write a book like that.

Papa S--t: Good morning, S--ts! It looks like today's going to be a s--tty day!

Goofy S--t: Good morning, Papa S--t! You're looking s--tty today!

And so on.

Attention people who represent me, work for my publisher, and those who may be tempted to burn me in effigy right now. I'm putting my mad skilz as a satirist to work today. Or to put it more bluntly: I'm not serious! I'm joking! Funny, huh?

Ahem.

There's enough sex, swearing, and random bad behavior in Gossip Girl to make a mommy's hair go white. And Gossip Girl is one of the best selling YA series out there. So, if you want to sell your books, make sure to put lots and lots of inappropriate things in them. Because that sells.

Although it sure does make you wonder what would happen if those "rules" about content in YA were done away with, doesn't it? Would we live in a world where Tally Youngblood drops constant F-bombs and spends most of her time in Prettytown getting Brazillians? Uh... probably not, because Tally isn't real. I had to remind myself of that for a second. Would Bella and her friends go co-ed skinny dipping at La Push instead of surfing? (La Push, baby! It's La Push!) I for one, think it's a great idea. We'd be teaching our kids bits of information that they'd actually use.

JOKING.

17 comments:

SlayerOfBees said...

I, for one, am in full support of you running around in your underwear more - let me worry about the serial killers.

Marybeth Poppins said...

I haven't read the series myself, but you do make it sound intriguing! LOL

Mariah Irvin said...

I must say, that Sh-t book sounds very amusing, and it would be funny to read an f-bombing Tally Youngblood. I see a new parody in the works.

Kelly said...

I haven't read that f'in book yet!

Valerie said...

I have always been curious about those books and if they have as much sex and partying as the few episodes of the show I've seen.

What's funny is that before I started writing YA and learning about the publishing world, I just assumed it was full of that stuff. But now, a year later, I'm a bit surprised to hear it's that "bad" and that popular. Interesting.

Thanks for reading it so I don't have to go to the library and check it out myself!

Natalie Whipple said...

You reading Gossip Girl is a rather funny image. The only thing funnier would be me reading Gossip Girl.

Solvang Sherrie said...

I actually used to own a book called The Sh*t List. It was absolutely hilarious. Just a bunch of random cartoons and captions that had to do with sh*t. You would have loved it :)

Keri Mikulski said...

:) I'm with you.. I couldn't put the GG books down. :)

Candice said...

I thought those books looked a bit naughty. Thanks to your review, I now know that I will not be buying them for my future teens for Christmas.

Cate Gardner said...

In your honour, when reading the next 3 books in the Uglies series, I intend to add f-bombs every other page. I may even scrawl them into the text. ;)

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking that in this Bizarro YA world you speak of, Nancy Drew would do a little more than just MEET the Hardy Boys.

Masonian said...

You know, I'm no prude, (I'm in a rock band in Las Vegas for crying out loud) but do we really need to rub kids faces in "gritty realism"? Do we somehow fear that they won't learn to be jaded on their own? That they will be among the poor, naive, socially awkward few who don't get an STD and a DUI before their 15th birthday?

Sure there is plenty of f-d up s*t out there (Gossip Girl speak) but most kids live in a world full of wonder and promise. The future is wide open to them, they are exploring and figuring things out. There are usually clear borders of good and bad, even if they are driven to push those boundaries.

I don't mind kids being kids while they still can. I don't feel the need to make them little Machiavellian cynics full of the despair of an age by telling them what I percieve as real.

Anne Fine questioned gritty realism in children's books here and people got snarky: http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/specials/edinburgh/article6808533.ece

But she was right, and it showed in the defensive attitudes of those who took umbrage at her lightly asked question.

(I don't know where I found this link... hopefully not from this blog. eep!)

Am I rambling? perhaps. But half the YA I read, I wouldn't hand to my kid sister.

Natalie L. Sin said...

This is good news, if I ever want to write YA. I don't think I can write more than a few chapters without swearing, and that's if I'm trying REALLY f*cking hard.

PJ Hoover said...

You always give me my daily dose of humor. Too funny.
I read one GG book which was enough. That said, I see why they sell like hotcakes. I'd have read them growing up.

jessjordan said...

and let's not even get into the wild, crazy, x-rated things Harry Potter and friends would get into! Those crazy Brits ...

:)

Jamie Eyberg said...

I was reading Stephen King's It in the 5th grade so I don't think a lot would shock me when it came to reading.

I chose to read that stuff and they didn't have the slick marketing campaigns they have now (and they sure as heck didn't have a show to tie-in the product, not until I was much older), but to market that type of behavior to 14 year old, that takes stones.

Carolyn V. said...

Those crazy Gossip Girls. What else can I say?