The “Sick-lit” category of YA books
So we’ve seen (and we think a number of you have also seen) this article on the Daily Mail Website: The ‘sick-lit’ books aimed at children: It’s a disturbing phenomenon. Tales of teenage cancer, self-harm and suicide…
The article is looking at books like John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars (which they mis-title), Before I Die by Jenny Downham and Never Eighteen – and accusing them of… I’m not sure what, actually…
First of all, the article is critical of the fact that children “as young as 12″ would be reading these sorts of titles. This is a facile argument – it’s been proved many times that children will read as widely as they are allowed to, that they will pick up adult novels at the age of 12 and enjoy them.
Then the article criticises the novels named as being mawkish and exploitative, that publishers are using this topic as a way to manipulate readers to tears.
The Fault in Our Stars has been consistently named in Top Ten Books of 2012 lists. I’ve seen 5 star reviews all across the board for this novel, and it has sold phenomenal amounts. I sincerely doubt this is because of the sensationalism of the storyline. Rather, it is more likely thanks to the excellent writing of John Green and a subject matter that is treated sensitively and with compassion!
So, what do you think about this article and the term ‘sick-lit’? Something you agree with? Or something you are spitting mad about? Discuss in the comments!