Sunday, November 09, 2008

Urban Lit and YA

So a lot of library journals have been talking about this crazy new thing, urban lit, lately. Here's a snip from this article, defining the urban lit genre:
Urban fiction - also known as street lit or street fiction - is a style of literature that depicts drugs, violence, and sexual promiscuity in black and Latino neighborhoods. Some of the books detail the extravagant lifestyles of drug dealers. Others describe the bloody violence associated with the drug trade. The sex scenes in some of the novels are extremely explicit, and sex is often used as a form of power rather than an expression of love.
I have to admit, I haven't read much myself, but I noticed with interest the quotes from teens reading adult-oriented urban lit novels rather than school-assigned books, rather to the dismay of some adults. In response, a number of publishing houses have started offering YA urban novels alongside the adult fare, but they're still too mature for some quoted in the article.

The debate sounds awfully familiar. Like so many others in the YA world (including the sex in SF/F debate I posted about a couple of days ago) it seems to come down to protection vs permission, or from another angle, innocence vs knowledge.

Has anybody out there read extensively in the genre, either the YA or the adult stuff? What did you think?

1 comment:

Mindy said...

I haven't read a ton of it, but I researched it as a trend for the book distributor I used to work for. Here's what I came up with for the catalog: http://www.propernoun.net/Spring08Streetlit.pdf