Earlier this week I read an article in The New Yorker about Alloy Entertainment, a big company which proposes ideas for teen and tween novels. According to Alloy’s editorial director, “More serious, angsty literature is where girls are right now. Morbid, dead-girl lit.”
When I read that sentence, my first reaction was: Dead-girl lit? How gross.
My second reaction was: How sad.
My third was: How boring.
Because I don’t think that we all need to be writing one particular kind of novel. And I also believe that the best novels, the ones we tend to reread, have more than just one dimension. My personal favorites are usually funny/angsty or funny/serious hybrids. And I always want to read about complex, vibrant characters, not about heroines who are literally or metaphorically "dead."
When I hear from girl readers, I get the impression that they’re looking for smart, entertaining books that are true to life—not “morbid, dead-girl lit.” But maybe nobody (including me) should generalize about “where girls are right now.” It’s probably true that by next week they’ll be somewhere else, anyway.