I'm sure we all remember those certain "scenes" in novels we read (or sneaked) as teens. The dog-eared corners of certain pages in controversial books like Forever and Flowers in the Attic, but now we're writing for that same audience and it's a new kind of era. It's a time in literary history that, on one hand, promotes and encourages "edgy" YA fiction, and on the other hand, censors books for having gay characters or using words like "scrotum."
I've seen John Green speak several times and watched someone in the audience raise their hand and ask about the "blow job" scene in his Printz winning novel Looking For Alaska. Now if you've read this wonderful book, you'll know why it is so silly for people to be so intrigued by the scene. It's awkward (read=not sexy) it's not with the person Green's MC cares about, yet it is one of those dog-eared (teens!) or high alert (censors!) kinds of scenes.
So I'm asking you, how much is too much in YA? If you have older teen characters engaging in sexual activities in your novel, how much is explicit and how much is implied through your language?
And is it ever okay to leave a scene mysterious and therefore open to interpretation? A did-they or didn't they kind of scenario? And why is it that books that contain this kind of "material" get so much attention?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Debs? Let's hear your answers...