Mashable has posted a list of “15 Young-Adult Books Every Adult Should Read.” Ugh in so many directions: first, that “should.” Piss off, it’s summer, and I don’t need some internet page-view generator telling me what I should do when I’m having trouble getting to level 29 of Candy Crush. There are no fifteen books of any stripe that every anybody should read.
Second, the choices: not bad, but weirdly random, with some classics (Weetzie Bat, Monster) mixed in with some less-than-definitive titles by authors who have more significant books (why Laurie Halse Anderson’s Twisted rather than Speak?) and some recent titles that nobody will remember in a couple of years (no examples because I’m nice that way).
Third, the annotations: they’re all cribbed from Amazon. If the author of the list isn’t invested enough to say why the books are so essential, why should I listen to her? Hell, did she even read them? Why should the rest of us?
As a list of “fifteen books for teens that adults might like, too,” it’s fine. But I’m having fun imagining what would happen if Mashable or USA Today or somebody put out a list of “15 Adult Books Every Young Adult Should Read.” Listservs would explode, outraged letters to the editor would ensue, the YA blogosphere would have material for months, gathering comments like lint, mostly along the lines of “This.” Thank God for the Alex Awards.