Young Adult literature is often written in a simpler, less florid style than Adult literature, and I prefer my books that way. I think when people write for adults, they feel a heavier burden to be loquacious and to sound intellectual and highbrow (it doesn’t actually mean they are). In YA lit, writers are freed from that burden because they are expected to speak the language of the audience to whom they are writing. But simplicity does not equate to simplemindedness. Neither does floridity equate to depth, and I think it’s often the people who don’t want to have to sit and think deeply about what they have just read who want to assume that it does. Big words and flowery style often mask stories that are only ankle-deep when it comes to actual content and theme, and it sometimes takes much greater skill to insert great depth of meaning into simpler words and style. I’m not, of course, saying this is a rule, or that all YA literature is deep and meaningful (because good gracious – NO!), but much of it contains greater meaning than it is ever given credit for simply because it’s labeled as books for “teens.” YA literature can (and should) stand up to as stiff literary criticism as adult literature. Why not? Can’t it address the same themes? Don’t teenagers wrestle with the same demons as adults? In different ways, certainly, but their journeys are important, and the conclusions they draw from them while young help shape the course of their lives as adults. It has been suggested to me several times throughout my career that it is somehow a higher calling to write for adults, as though adults are worthier of being taken more seriously as a reading audience. The insinuation drawn, then, about my writing is that it is lowbrow, easier to produce, commercial garbage, not serious or to be taken seriously, and etc. etc. My first reaction to these sorts of comments tends to be anger (and hurt, as my hard work is devalued), but those feelings are quickly chased by pity. Because people who cannot see depth in simplicity or value in the childlike must live pretty bleak, joyless lives, mustn’t they? They will certainly, at the very least, never get to experience the cathartic joy of watching a teenager fall to absolute pieces over a good book. And I would not trade that for the world.