I Need Advice: Moral Dilemma Related to Blogging

When I started writing a blog, I never thought that it would lead to an examination of my morals. I thought it might be fun and a good way to get in touch with the writing community. Being in touch with fellow writers means that I’ve gotten requests to host blog book tours, etc. And while I love to help and support my fellow writers, I’ve come across a dilemma. I could use some advice. Here is my problem:

I’ve been approached by a YA author who would like to make a stop on her book launch tour at my blog. I was excited to read her book. I sat down, read a few pages in, and went, “uh oh!” There was a very graphically described, very violent scene; one that I don’t think should be included in a YA novel.

This author was quick to point out that The Hunger Games books are very violent as well. That’s true. But here’s my dirty little secret; I think that The Hunger Games series is really an adult series masquerading as a YA series. I recently heard the books described as “blood-drenched,” which I think is accurate. Yes, I love them. Yes, I own the books. Yes, I plan on seeing the movies. But do I think they’re YA books? No. I think they are adult books, about a teenage protagonist.

This author seems like a very nice person, and I hate to disappoint her, but I don’t want to be seen as endorsing a book that I feel is too violent for YA readers. I just don’t know what to do. What do you think? Have any of you experienced anything like this? How did you handle it? Help! I need advice!

On a different note, we’ll be interviewing a self-published author on Wednesday, one who is doing QUITE well. Stay tuned to learn her secrets!


18 thoughts on “I Need Advice: Moral Dilemma Related to Blogging

  1. Ooooo, that’s a hard one 😦 But, without trying to influence you either way, I’d say, go with your gut hon. It’s your Blog, you make the decisions 🙂 If this person is a friend then she should totally understand….and if she doesn’t understand, then she’s not a friend IMHO 😦

    I know it’s hard, and you don’t want to disappoint her, but, as I see it, you have 2 choices….let her down, or feel that youve let yourself down 🙂

    I’ve never been faced with the problem myself, but, I know what I would do if I was.

    Good luck

    Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful 🙂


  2. I was going to pretty much say what the two previous commenters said. I suggest you go with your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right (i.e., it makes you feel uncomfortable in some way), then you shouldn’t do it.

  3. I would tell her exactly what you said here. In fact, you may have already told her ‘here’, if she reads your blog. Tell her you, personally, don’t feel right about it, but perhaps you can recommend some other blogs who may want to host her. There is nothing wrong with saying ‘no’, as long as you do it respectfully, with utmost courtesy, and with a possible solution to help her out. Good luck.

  4. Well, could you share it on your blog as a “book review,” not necessarily a “YA book review” and briefly let people know why? Maybe the discussion of this scene is something you include in your review? It is definitely a good question for your readers to ponder. I think some of those scenes are too graphic for me – and I’m 31!

  5. If you’re not comfortable with it, just say no. The answer “no” in and of itself requires no further explanation, but if pressed, you may give the reason as stated above in your blog post. Why do something your conscience is prompting you not to? Best of luck! Ruth

  6. I think honesty is paramount here, but it doesn’t have to hurt. You can simply explain it to her, the same way you’ve explained it here. While you want to support your fellow writers, some genres and content just don’t match up with your tastes. There’s nothing wrong with that and most writers understand that not everyone is going to “dig” what they’ve written. For example, I would never ask a mystery writer to support my fantasy venture. Nor would I ask a YA author to support my adult fiction book about a teenager. It doesn’t makes sense!

  7. I agree with Jenny (and others). Explain yourself. Maybe she would welcome a healthy debate on this very blog about why/why not excessive violence in YA fiction is acceptable. I, personally, would be interested in reading that interview.

  8. I would be very interested to hear the author’s rationale for the violence/YA categorization. Yes, many YA’s live in very violent communities & families, but many do not. Yes, if done correctly, violent/graphic scenes in books can spur conversation and maturation. BUT, there’s also the issue you pointed out of books for ADULTS being categorized as YA just b/c the protagonist is a YA. That’s not to say that you should feel obligated to host this discussion, just that I think it’s a good one. 🙂 As one of my favorite bloggers puts it: this is YOUR living room & we just all get to visit & sit on the couch for a chat. I don’t think it’s a morality issue in that you wouldn’t be advocating real-life violence, but it IS/WOULD BE an endorsement of sorts for the book, even if you disagree w/ its YA status. (rambling now…will stop)

  9. This isn’t directly advice, but…

    The Hunger Games is, in my opinion, a *young adult* fiction series. I make this a marked distinction from TEEN fiction. I would say that a 17 or 18 year old could handle the Hunger Games. Moreover, I think it is relevant to young adults as they contemplate government and their actions within a society (voting? joining the military?). These are relevant topics to those approaching or recently at the age of 18. I would say that a mature 15 year old might even be able to handle these books.

    To me, “young adult” should not be equated with “teen” where you get a blanket “once your 13 it’s for you” mentality going. Then you get tweens going, “oh, it’s teen stuff, I’m close enough!” Now, I’m not certain (not being published or working in the industry) if that’s what they mean by “young adult,” but they really shouldn’t.

    My two-and-three-quarters cents.

    • Shannon, I agree. I think the problem is that the definition of YA is 13-18 year-olds. I like that publishers are starting to have a “New Adult” category which is 17-28. I think that would make things a lot easier in regards to classifying fiction with more adult themes. I think The Hunger Games would be much better classified as New Adult. And while it does bring up many fascinating topics of discussion, I don’t think that the level of violence in it is appropriate for 13-16 year olds. Of course, every parent should use their best judgment when deciding if it is appropriate for their children to read. And, as I said, I loved The Hunger Games. I’ve re-read them several times since they came out, and am sure I will read them again!

      • Well, that’s confusing. YA is *supposed* to mean “young adult,” right? So, let’s all us word-people go and redefine adult to include 13-year-olds…

        Gosh, that’s dumb. Oh well. It would be too easy to call it “teen” wouldn’t it?

      • Well, that’s confusing. YA is *supposed* to mean “young adult,” right? So, let’s all us word-people go and redefine adult to include 13-year-olds…

        Gosh, that’s dumb. Oh well. It would be too easy to call it “teen” wouldn’t it?

  10. Pingback: Discussion Planned: Violence in YA Literature | The Literary Mom

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