So…… what’s up with the warning in TWISTED?

When you pick up TWISTED (which I sincerely hope you will do this summer) and flip through the opening pages, you will find something unusual right after the dedication page. It reads “NOTE: THIS IS NOT A BOOK FOR CHILDREN” Then the adventures of Tyler Miller begin.

Many people have been speculating on The Note. Some theorized that the publisher forced it down my throat. John Green called it a “marketing ploy” in his otherwise very nice New York Times review of the book. Several other reviewers concluded that the note was spot-on; that TWISTED is not a book for kids, but it is a great book for teens.

I had no idea this was going to be such a big deal. It’s time for me to set the record straight.

First, some background.

I write books for teenagers, yes. I also write historical fiction that is aimed at grades 5-8 (but read by all sorts of folks), I wrote a series for tweens about kids volunteering in a vet’s clinic, and I write picture books for little kids. I have lost track of the number of times I have met parents whose children (nine and ten-year-olds) have enjoyed one of my books for younger readers, so they pick up SPEAK or another YA title of mine and ask me to sign it for their child. I always ask the parent to read the book first. They appreciate the heads-up.

And then there are people like the lady who insisted on buying SPEAK for her second-grade daughter because the girl was gifted and reading on a 10th-grade level.

::headdesk headdesk::

For years I have been talking to people in publishing, librarians, teachers, booksellers, and other authors trying to figure out a way to alert book buyers and borrowers about books that are better suited for older readers. The age ranges put on books aren’t very helpful – who decides what is right for 13? For 11? For 16? Ask 100 people and you’ll get 103 answers. This can be a very confusing muddle. (Plot summaries don’t help much either. They present a couple of facts, nothing more.)

I think SPEAK is a book for everyone in 7th grade and older (the main character is 14). TWISTED is aimed at the older end of the age bracket (the main character is 18) – it will have the most meaning for kids in 9th grade and older, though I have already heard from 8th graders who really liked it, and who got a lot out of the main character’s struggles.

Hence, The Note. I figure that anyone who is picking up TWISTED for a person that they still consider a “child” (regardless of age) will probably want to wait a while before handing it over, or should read it themselves, first. Anyone buying the book for a “teen” or “post-child person” won’t have a problem with it. My editor Sharyn, aka came up with the brilliant idea of making The Note look like an RIAA stamp.

I would love to hear what all of you think of this. Let the conversation begin. (John and I will be talking about this over coffee at ALA. Give us lots of opinions so we can ponder deeply!)

In other news, many thanks to the SCBWI members who came out to Saturday’s Mid-Hudson conference and treated me so kindly.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Here is part of the crowd gathered for my keynote speech.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Daffodils bloom in the most unlikely and delightful places. This is who attended the Rutgers Conference in October and received one of the daffodil bulbs I handed out there. The bulb went in her “conference bookbag” and then her life got busy. As she prepared for the Mid-Hudson conference, she found it buried deep in the bag. It had very recently sprouted and is still fresh and ready to go. Just like a lot of writers I met.

Blog alert: if you love YA Literature, you’ll want to check out Finding Wonderland: The Writing YA Weblog. (You probably already know about it since I am usually the last kid on the block to hear about anything new and interesting. But just in case…)

OK, OK, one last thing, just because it is summer and funky things happen.

55 Replies to “So…… what’s up with the warning in TWISTED?”

  1. Hmm, I kind of sympathize with the second grader’s mom. At some point it became difficult to find books at my reading level that still had appropriate content. Third graders have little interest in prom, for example. I guess the only thing to do would be to just up and say what the book is about to the parent.

    Also, I guess the ‘note’ only works if a parent or adult is purchasing the book for a kid/teen/whatever. Children who see a note like that in a book will either be insulted or intrigued. Either way, I think they will then be more likely to read it then before. Despite your good intentions, I can understand what Green meant by ‘marketing ploy.’

  2. I’m curious – do you think The Note in any way compares to the (very reasonable) warning in your LJ bio?

    It is so confusing to figure out where the lines are these days.

  3. I wondered about that warning note. Because books just don’t have them. (Unlike movies and CDs.) I also thought it might be a marketing idea, but I never could make up my mind one way or the other. After reading it, I absolutely agree. An excellent and powerful book, but not for children. However, I do think there’s a good possibility that some kids will read it because the label is there. If you’re not allowed, it must good, right? 😉 That’s definitely what I thought when I was a kid and my parents wouldn’t let me read Angela’s Ashes. I was around ten years old, and they hid the book about four times before they finally found a spot that I couldn’t get to. 😛

  4. Personally, I just thought it was a way to get teens to go, “Oooh, this isn’t a kids book… and it looks dark and mysterious… AWESOME!! IT’LL FREAK MY PARENTS OUT!” Haha. Something like that, anyway. (Not that I’m one of the kids who thinks that. And I’m sure you don’t want teens freaking their parents out. I’m just saying. I know a lot of teens who would think that.)
    Of course, agreeing with , it could intrigue kids as well, and make them pick up the book.

    I think it was a good idea to put The Note in, as a little warning to parents. But that won’t always stop kids from picking it up and thinking it’s “cool” because it’s “not for kids”, and parents may still think that their kids are ready for the book simply because they’re reading at higher levels.

    It’s all complicated. The Note can be good, but it can also be ignored. But at least now that The Note is in there, it makes it harder for parents to have good reason for attacking you as to the book’s content. When they decide to ignore your warning, they take responsibility for putting it into their kids’ hands. (It would be nice if they didn’t ignore it at all, though.)

    Did this make any sense? I have issues making long, coherent comments :O

  5. Oh, by the way, I picked up TWISTED the other day and read it yesterday — so good. It’s nice to find books that has me sitting around all day to read. 🙂

  6. I was one of the commenters who took it literally: it’s not a book for kids–meaning young kids. But looks like it caused some talk-talk which is always interesting.

  7. I can’t control what a kid reads or does not read. I can try to give information to the book buyer.

    Far and away most of the people who buy hardcover books are adults. The Note was written for them.

  8. I think you are seeing this from a couple different angles and that is cool, And yes, it can be VERY complicated. I appreciate your thoughts.

  9. First off, thank you for including me in your blog! I was thrilled to see my picture with the bulb, especially when I can report that I planted it in the ground early this morning.

    And since I was one of the people who asked about the Note in your last entry, I’d like to say that I think it’s a valid concern that’s raised, especially when the bar keeps getting raised on what defines YA literature these days. And while there have always been books for an older YA audience (even if it wasn’t called that), I think the prevalance of books in this sub-genre is growing.

    I wonder though if notes like this might encourage younger people to read this book anyway (kind of like the way I remember sneakily reading Forever with my friend when I was in fifth or sixth grade. I still remember the dirty look the librarian gave us when we checked it out of the library but she let us do it anyway). Just a thought.

    p.s. thank you for a tremendously inspiring talk at the conference. I started a new regiment of writing and exercising today because of it.

  10. Maybe this can help spark a larger discussion about if/if not/how books should be evaluated in terms of content… stay tuned.

  11. I was so thrilled to see the bulb!! Congrats on the new regiment. Let me know how it is working in three weeks.

    And yes, The Note might motivate some kids to read the book. But it will also give a tool to the adults in those kids lives …. at least, that’s what I was hoping.

    It was very nice to see you again.

  12. “I can’t control what a kid reads or does not read.”

    No, of course not. Whether the note was there or not, someone somewhere would read it when perhaps they weren’t ready. In the end, I thought the note was a good idea, since it can be seen by those who do have control.

  13. I think that teenagers either won’t notice it, or don’t consider themselves children so it doesn’t apply to them, or kind of do still consider themselves children and so will feel daring.

    I think that parents are mostly way too stupid to even understand anything, and it doesn’t matter if you make a poster out of it, they still won’t get the message.

    (ps, it’s true: I get parents of 2nd and 3rd graders shopping in YA ALL THE TIME, because “janey reads at an 8th grade level” — god i want to shake adults.)

  14. I was confused by the note. I read it and closed the book, wondering if it wasn’t YA after all. Then I looked it up on Amazon, to see what their rating was. It said YA…and I was still confused, because to me, YA also falls under ‘kids’. I would have read the book, too, if it was an adult book, but I wanted to know going in if it was or wasn’t. Not for kids, to me, implied an adult book.
    I wish they had a rating system for books like the one they use for movies. I personally use it to tell my kids why I don’t want them to read certain books yet: they’re PG 13. Parents are too busy to pre-read all their kids’ books, especially if the kids read a lot.

  15. No, I don’t think it does. My note is included as a way to avoid legal problems. It isn’t illegal for anyone to read anything (in this country), so your warning is there to warn parents (or possibly astute children) from stumbling upon plotlines that they believe their children are not ready for.

    If someone “underage” were to read Twisted, you have done nothing illegal. There is, very unfortunately, the chance that you may be sued if their parents get upset, but it is not a given.

    However, in my journal, I occasionally deal with things of a very adult nature or with stories that are rated NC-17 or above. If someone underage were to follow my journal with my knowledge, I would be doing something illegal for which I could be fined. By placing a warning in my userinfo, I am stating that I would not consciously disseminate this material to minors (and, in fact, would ban anyone underage).

    Things get fuzzy when you put things in books for preteens and teens. If I were eleven years and picked up Twisted at the library, read the plot summary and decided that I wanted to read it 1) A warning would not stop me (especially one that looked like a joke) 2)It, in fact, would make me want to read it more. I’m eleven! I’m not a child!

    What your warning will do (if they aren’t turned off by the look of it) will help parents and other adults to make a decision about their child’s maturity and whether they should read the book. However, it has been an extremely long time since any adult was in charge of what I or any of my friends read.

    I can understand your reasons for The Note and I hope it helps you and any parents buying the book. But if your intention is to keep it out of the hands of people who may not be ready for it, I fear it will not be very effective. There are too many cases in which The Note will be ignored or will encourage someone to read your book.


    Good Luck (or we may continue, whichever)

  16. I appreciate your longwindedness!

    “What your warning will do (if they aren’t turned off by the look of it) will help parents and other adults to make a decision about their child’s maturity and whether they should read the book.” That was exactly my intention. I do not think anyone really debates these issues for kids who are 14 or older. What is at the heart of this is kids from 10 – 13; a time of tremendous growth and variability from kid to kid.

    There is nothing in the book that will harm anyone. There are many more intense things shown on Law and Order reruns after school each day. The Note was an attempt to offer some guidance to the adults who are looking for it.

    You mention “stories that are rated NC-17” Who decides on these ratings? And BTW, I appreciate that you took the time to post your own warning. I think it’s a good idea.

  17. This is part of the problem – some people still think of YA as “kids”. Some people are offended that YA literature deals with “teen” topics – they truly believe YA means “middle school” – but without sexuality or curse words.

    Do you see a third rail – a stream of literature not for children, not for adults, but for teenagers, specific to their developmental phase and challenges and culture?

    Maybe at the root of all of this is a need for consensus on language.

  18. I doubt you will ever get a consensus on language, nor who it is appropriate for. But I for one, have no problem with a NOT FOR CHILDREN message in teen books. Seems clear and to the point to me.

  19. “Do you see a third rail – a stream of literature not for children, not for adults, but for teenagers, specific to their developmental phase and challenges and culture?”

    Yes, this is what I understand YA to mean. But…”not for kids” doesn’t equal YA to me.

    I agree, a concensus of some kind is needed. It would greatly help parents/teens/kids to pick out appropriate books from a shelf.

  20. Hi! I added you a bit ago, although I never took the time to introduce myself. I’ve been enjoying lurking, but this topic finally compelled me to poke my head out. I just finished my MA with an emphasis on adolescent and postcolonial lit (they share this lovely sense of liminality) and will be returning to teaching 7-12 English this fall.

    We just had a going away party for one of our children’s lit. faculty and the problem of classification of adolescent literature came up with our friends who specialize in “adult” lit. As just posted above, most people still see adolescent/YA lit as for ‘kids.’ Most academic departments don’t make a big distinction between child and adolescent/YA literature either, requiring their scholars to teach in both children’s and adolescent literature interchangeably (which really irks some faculty!). To top things off, there’s no solid division between tween and teen literature at all. It’s often up to individual readers, with the help of their librarians and booksellers, to figure out if they are in a book’s target audience or not. As a teacher, I appreciate it when an author gives me a heads up. I’d appreciate a “Mature Content” label on books sometimes, especially when it’s from an author I’m familiar with who doesn’t frequently address such themes. However, I also don’t want to see author’s self-censor and I see the potential for such warnings to backfire by students either picking up the book just because of the warning or by them fueling the fire for frivolous book challenges. As a (newish) scholar, I think we need to keep working on defining the field and I’m really excited by all of the great lit that’s out there to support studies. It’s really exciting to see good debate going on about the highly sophisticated literature available for our children, tweens, and teens, and how that literature can vary.

  21. I notice that you’ve already had some of this discussion above! Sorry I took so long pondering my post and not refreshing the page. I didn’t mean to be rehashing points of discussion.

  22. The people who decide on the ratings are the authors of the stories. Sometimes, if I’m recommending a story, piece of art or article, I’ll put a rating on it (or, actually, just warn for explicit material or not).

    I hope your intentions do come through. I can imagine it would be difficult to realize that people were blithely letting their younger children read all of your work, not realizing you wrote for so many different age levels.

  23. Well – I’m for not fussing about most things.

    To me, the message fits perfectly with the book. It sets the tone. And as with lots of things in the world (and in your books!), it’s open to interpretation.

    Stepping away from the message in particular, I do think the discussion of what YA is, and kids books v. YA, is important, especially as the category gains wider currency with the general public. They AREN’T kids books, they also AREN’T adult books. But I don’t think it’s something that’s going to be resolved, at least not anytime soon, and perhaps never to everyone’s satisfaction.

  24. Good warnings

    I think that warning was a smart thing to do. If only publishers would pick up on it and make it standard, then there would be no debate. It would help parents sift through the maze of books that is YA, since there is everything from disney to edgy in the mix.

    The dedication area is yours to do with what you must. In my book, “Sea Feather” the editor had me take out one reference to Psalm 91 vs. 4 “The Lord will cover you with feathers and protect you.” The book is NOT a religious one but it is the true story of something that happened in the life of my friend who died of cancer and that psalm had a real reason to be a part of the package, so I put it in my dedication!

  25. There is a saying in karate: “A block is a strike.” When you block a punch, you aren’t just defending yourself, you are also trying to attack the arm that is throwing the punch. When I read your warning, it struck me as a brilliant block. I never thought of it as any sort of device or trick. It was just an honest statement designed to deflect problems and also thwart those who might be inclined to cause problems. As for John Green thinking it was a marketing strategy, that opinion might reveal more about him than about you. We tend to project our own ways onto others.

  26. I think that both the cover and the book jacket flap should be enough (and I feel its the publishers DUTY to be sure that both the cover and book jacket flap DOES do this)to let everyone know whats inside BEFORE they purchase it.

    Theres also a new little thing called google.
    You type in the subject you’re looking up and it provides you with a zillion links at your fingertips.

    Also–theres where you can (again- a little work required here, sorry) TYPE in the name of the book or author and there could be a dozen to hundreds of customer reviews ABOUT the book complete with STARS (up to five)

    I continue to find it amazing that for several years now, we, as a human race, have this amazing internet/information format available to everyone for free 24/7 and yet, nobody seems to be putting it to its fullest advantage.

    Oh sure, we TEXT each other on the cells and we BLOG day and night but in the end it’s all just a billion colorful numbers and letters in cyberspace.

    People STILL aren’t using the internet for the tool that it is- or that it can be.

    Yet—-the news occassionally reports a small group of people in some large or small city someplace going into the store blindly and picking up a copy of a book for their child and then starting a huge phone call campaign threatening to shut down libraries and such all because they didnt bother to do a few simple hours of research BEFORE buying the thing.

  27. Oh, no – don’t apologize! All voices are welcome here and your perspective is an important one.

    Thank you for sharing!

  28. Thanks for suggesting we read the notes from yesterday today! Really good stuff–to go along what you and an_kayoh were discussing—I picked up a NIN (Nine Inch Nails) CD at Target to buy for my husband. On the back was some sort of government warning about the “purchase of this CD could be tracked by the government” or something to do with the current admin. and it FREAKED me out so much, I almost didn’t buy it. Turns out that WAS a marketing ploy, and a statement of protest, but I didn’t know. I wonder how many other people either put it back because of that comment, or were more encouraged to “rebel” and buy it. Either way, I agree w/ what literaticat said. It’s a fine line we’re all walking and should be explored. In my YA novel, because I want it to be read by a huge, general audience, I purposefully left out cursing and high-level sexual content. Because the overall message is more about cultural acceptance and hope after disaster etc. I didn’t want it NOT to be read because some people don’t like seeing the F-bomb in YA. You know?

  29. I think that the warning made sense for your purposes since you have written books geared at children. You wouldn’t want a parent to just pick it up because it is written by the same author. But then again, would that parent even go to the effort to lift the bookflap. In a logical world the brief description on the back, the appearance of the book and the reviews of the book that are on the internet, etc. would be enough to keep a parent from buying a book above his child’s level.

    Maybe if the warning had been in a “serious” font and layout it wouldn’t have been taken as a marketing ploy. If I am recalling it correctly then it does appeal more to kids rather than being read for its content.

  30. With all due respect, it scares me.
    I had a nightmare vision of books getting “warning labels” or ratings or something, and imposed by outside forces instead of voluntary as yours was. I know your intention was to indicate that this book is for older kids, not younger ones, but to me that’s what the YA/MG distinction is for.
    I also think there’s too much “trying to protect” when it comes to kid’s books. What are we trying to protect them from–thinking? Feeling? Knowing that there are such things as rape and suicide in the world? They already know that, from a very young age–some unfortunately know it firsthand. As a kid, I was always looking for books that admitted there were serious challenges in life and everything wasn’t always rosy. My life wasn’t rosy and it comforted me to see that acknowledged in what I read.

  31. Hi! I picked up the book and read it on vacation last weekend. Great book! I couldn’t put it down.

    I was intrigued by the NOT FOR CHILDREN note, but figured it was just what you said, a way to warn parents of younger readers that the content was geared to older kids.

    Unfortunately, not enough parents pay attention to what their kids are reading. Like many of the newer YA novels I’ve read in the past few weeks, this one has some great discussion points.

  32. So how we educate the adults who do not yet understand that there is a difference between YA and MG fiction? They represent a very large proportion of the parents out there.

  33. warnings…

    This is a very interesting subject to me, as I find myself trying to decide just what my kids (ages 10 and 11) should read. They CAN read practically anything, but are SO not ready for certain subjects. I appreciate a good warning! There are so many shades of gray in deciding, though.

  34. Old guy’s POV


    I looked at the receipt and it all came back to me. I bought the book on 3/20/07 at 1:41pm in Gilbert, AZ. I remember being scolded the night before for trying to buy it before it became available.

    I never noticed the warning.

    I read it tonight.

    I don’t think the issue is whether or not there is a note or what it says, or even what it looks like. It is on the fifth page. I would not think to look five pages in for any kind of note. I hope that in the future, you would find the strength of your convictions to place “MC” or something similiar on the cover, where you can be sure the buyer will see it. As it is, five pages in makes this specific discussion almost moot.

    I hope that helps,


  35. Is this the John Green of Looking for Alaska? Now there was a book that needed a warning label.

    I’ve gotten into a lot of debates with my fellow bookworms over the past couple of years about censorship in books. I believe we were all reading Eldest by Christopher Paolini, and one of my older friends was concerned about the extremely subtle innuendo in one of the chapters about Eragon’s older cousin. He seemed to believe that all books should come with clear warning labels on the cover, or at least a rating. I hardly thought Eldest should be criticized for the tiniest little thing, especially when other books are considerably worse.

    When I picked up Twisted, I really liked the note. I’m not sure exactly what my thoughts were. I figured it was kind of a mix between a publicity grab (it reminded me of Lemony Snicket’s DO NOT READ THIS BOOK kind of thing) and a legitimate warning. My main confusion was that I thought it was kind of the start of the book, like it was Tyler himself warning us away. But once I started in the book, watching as Tyler’s situations got more and more scary, I realized how true it was. I am sixteen, and I loved the book. It did deal with some very weighty issues, more so, I thought, than any of your other books. Yes, Speak was pretty gritty, but the protagonist was young and the story is told in such a way that younger readers can enjoy it. Twisted dealt with very important issues, none of which were toned down at all for the YA genre. And that’s great. As I think you’ve mentioned before, censorship is killing the youth, and teens need to hear about these things. They need to see the ideas of suicide played out in another person’s eyes and see that it is not the answer to everything. All the guidance counselors in the world might not be able to save a life like an eye-opening book can.

    A warning was necessary for this book, simply because of your previous audience. However, if it is seen as a publicity stunt, it won’t stop kids from reading it. But, as you said, parents who read it beforehand would understand the significance behind it. I know I read it in the store and it kind of grabbed me. Maybe if it had looked more official or something. I don’t know. The book was wonderful, though, and one of the few books I’ve cried in recently. But it’s good that you’ve warned away your younger audience. Give them a few years, and they’ll be ready to hear Tyler’s story.

    But should all books come with a rating? Would it be as loosely determined as the movie ratings? I know Japanese manga has ratings (T – teen, OT – older teen). I’m not sure if it would be such a bad idea, now that I’ve had a couple of YA books soured for me because of kind of pointless graphic content. That’s the thing that really bugs me. Your books involve violence and sex because it needs to. Most of them just do it because they think that’s all teenagers care about. And they are only feeding them lies.

    Sorry for the rant, though. I’m glad you’re taking a stand.

  36. My local library uses big, yellow “YA” stickers on the bindings of books with YA content and/or reading levels. I think it would be nice if bookstores had a similar system… I think children are fairly good at knowing whether they can handle the reading levels of YA books, and the big yellow sticker serves as a nice flag for parents who are concerned about content that may potentially be inappropriate for their child developmentally (for example, I was seriously not ready to read the YA book The Color of Distance the first time I picked it up because of descriptive sexual content).

  37. The Note

    I think The Note is a good idea. I can appreciate it on several levels. As the mother of a six-year-old reader who is starting to devour books (though he’s still on early readers, no issues like this yet) I appreciate the warning. My parents let me read nearly everything I wanted when I was young, but once in a while they DID say no to something that was too mature (“Then Again, Maybe I Won’t” is probably not a great book for a 7-year-old girl), and I expect the same will be true for my son. He can mostly read whatever he wants with a few exceptions.

    I agree that part of the problem stems from a lack of understanding that there is a difference between middle grade fiction and YA fiction. They are often shelved together in libraries and bookstores. The books are not always clearly labeled as YA or MG. And, for a long time, there was not a HUGE difference in material. It seems like the edgier YA books have started to make a resurgence just in the past few years, so people may not understand the difference. Also, “when we were kids” there just wasn’t the YA category like there is today. When I was 12, I remember my library – a big one – had two shelves of YA books. That’s it. So parents may not even realize there is a YA category.

    Well, I’ve rambled more than I meant to. Thanks for reading, and thanks for your thoughtful posts. (And thanks for your GREAT books! I don’t think I’ve ever posted here before and said that. I’m 36 and I read every one of your YA books as they come out, and lots of your MG books too.)

  38. Not to beat a dead horse, but the authors of the stories you mention do the exact same thing I did – we wave a small flag to give potential readers a heads-up about the content of the work.

  39. Re: Old guy’s POV

    Don’t you always glance at the first page of a book before buying it? I do. That’s why the warning is where it is.

    Thanks for chiming in, Jerry.

  40. I still think it’s different. There’s a bit of a chasm between warning for explicit material that is illegal to disseminate to minors and warning that children might not be ready to read this. They’re being more specific.

    Also, I would expect an author of one of these stories to rate it, but I wouldn’t expect a teen book author to do so, especially since you don’t “rate” Twisted, per se. The way that your warning is phrased, meaning the way that you made it look like an RIAA stamp, suggests that it is a joke. I can’t even think of an example in fanfiction that is equivalent.

  41. Lots of questions, far fewer answers

    It seems like the edgier YA books have started to make a resurgence just in the past few years

    Yes! YA has really defined itself in the last five years (perhaps longer? shorter?) and people– parents, librarians, teachers, academics– are still trying to understand how it works. I can speak from the academic end of things, where most people see YA lit as just another confusing label for pop fiction. It’s remarkable how many academics (note- my experience is specifically within a Literature department) have never considered that YA literature might just be a field of its own. I’m working on a paper that looks at the place of YA lit within the literature community, and I’m discovering a surprising lack of awareness. Parents who didn’t realize there was any delineation within the “Books for Kids” category, professors who never considered YA books useful for anything other than keeping kids entertained, and librarians who struggle to populate their collections with books for all sorts of audiences. Certainly some of this is self-enforced, the “we’re in academics where change is bad” sort of philosophy. But the parents who simply want to find the books best for their children? Or the middle school librarian who has a fanclub of eight graders clambering for “more, more, anything more by Laurie Halse Anderson”?

    Since YA lit is a comparatively young field, we’re faced with all sorts of exciting questions– the discussions here are ample proof of that! Perhaps 50 years from now, when the entire world embraces YA lit, a “This is not a book for children” label won’t be necessary. But now? How else can we expect people (ourselves included) to make informed decisions about literature if we don’t, well, inform?

  42. Re: Lots of questions, far fewer answers

    A note- that last bit came off as a rhetorical question. I’m really just curious! If the warning label isn’t effective, are there other, better methods?

  43. I just read the book (I liked it by the way!) and thought the warning label was suitable. Sure, a kid might pick the book up in the store and read it because the label tells them not to, but I don’t really think this will happen much.

    If you didn’t put the warning label, you would have probably been criticized by parents who were angry about your darker story affecting their kids. At least now they have an idea that the book isn’t going to be for younger readers before they get worked up over it and blame you.

    I’m finding this really hard to put into words, so I hope you understand what I mean!

  44. Re: Old guy’s POV

    I didn’t notice the warning either until I read this blog.

  45. hello

    Hey i was reading Twisted and i saw Grant Blvd in your book.Then I looked in the back of your book to find out you live in northern New York,as do i. I live in Syracuse New York and I was amazed to find that you grew up there too.I am 14 and am going to be a freshman a Henniger Highschool. I was curious about what highschool you went to.I love your book i’ve read 136 pages in two day( i read about three hours a day!!!) I would be so grateful if you could email me and tell me about where you went to school and stuff when you lived in Syracuse. My email is Please email, I don’t care how long it takes i just want to hear about it, I’ve always loved to hear about peoples lifes.

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