Among her roundup of YA love stories, Shara Hardeson may have found the precious few published these days that don’t have a supernatural or science fictional element. You might be old enough to remember thirty years ago when teen romances were the paranormals of their day, with youth librarians everywhere attempting to evaluate, catalog, and keep in stock what seemed like the enormous numbers of Sweet Dreams, Sweet Valley, and Wildfire romances that were being published every month. It was a simpler time: these books were largely paperback only; “YA” meant ten to fourteen-year-olds; and depictions of sexual activity were pretty much limited to a little (and strictly heterosexual) light petting. Resentful of these books’ intrusion into YA literature, a genre still then battling for respectability, we asked then what we ask now: “when will they STOP?”
But they never stop, not the books, not the battles, not the readers. The particulars change as themes and trends cycle and populations shift, but generations of young readers are alike in asking the same questions of themselves and the world, and “who will love me?” is a big one. Happy Valentine’s Day.
Editor in Chief
From the February 2013 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.