Okay, most of what I read (for myself) is Young Adult fiction, and I'm the person who orders it for our library, so I think I have a pretty fair idea of what is out there. When I read the Wall Street Journal article stating all YA novels are dark and horrible and that publishers are trying to turn our kids into depressed drug addicts who cut themselves (okay, I'm paraphrasing - but only slightly) I just rolled my eyes and went back to rereading I Now Pronounce You Someone Else.
Unfortunately, there are those parents who trust the Wall Street Journal (um, why?) to tell them what to think about literature. Even more unfortunately, as some bloggers have pointed out, budget cuts everywhere mean that parents may not have someone around with some actual KNOWLEDGE of young adult literature to help them find books appropriate for (and of interest to) their child.
That's why I love this post from The YA5. She has links to some of the best responses to the WSJ article, but even better, a list of suggested titles for the mother in question. What's funny is, my teen is currently sitting ten feet away from me (re)reading one of the books in her first series suggestion.
Off the top of my head, I would add to that list:
Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots by Abby McDonald
After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick (yes, the kid had cancer, but this book is HYSTERICAL)
As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins
Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson
What about you, readers? What YA books would you recommend for the mom of a young teen, who doesn't want too much darkness in her reading?