I don't see how these books can be any worse than the Mail itself:
As plots go, it's mawkish at best, exploitative at worst.
The blurbs for 'teen sick-lit' - as it's become known - trip over themselves to promise their books will drive readers 'to tears' or leave them 'devastated'.
When the book [The Lovely Bones] became popular among young teens, publishers set about commissioning a raft of morbid novels, which all too often inadvertently glamorise shocking life-and-death issues.
'When you write for children, you have a moral and social responsibility,' says Amanda. 'I think there is a cavalier attitude towards this in the publishing industry, especially as children as young as 11 are likely to be reading these books.
'They are aimed at young teens at the time when they are most likely to go through self-harm or experience suicidal thoughts.'
Julie Elman, of the University of Missouri, who has studied teen sick-lit, is worried the genre encourages young girls to believe that the most important thing to worry about when facing serious illness is whether boys still fancy them.
'Let's hope publishers do have young people's interests at heart - and they are not selling books by sensationalising children's suffering.'
Because the Mail never writes about cancer; never judges girls on their appearance; can only be read by those with a very high reading age and is therefore unlikely to be read by kids; is not known for its sensationalism; and never, EVER promises its readers "heartbreaking," "shocking," "chilling" or "disturbing" human interest stories that will "move them to tears."
Interesting that the only example they can give is The Lovely Bones, a book that -to be fair to the author- was never intentionally aimed at a teen audience.
I read that book, just as the fuss surrounding it was reaching a peak. I cannot remember seeing reviews or articles anywhere saying that it was appealing to a particularly young audience, in fact if younger people did read it I'd say it would have had more to do with the subsequent film adaption of the book. It's a very odd choice to back their claims up with, as opposed to let's say, Malory Blackman's Naughts and Crosses series, a series aimed specifically at a teen audience and which covers such topics as racism, interracial love and murder. Or what about the Twilight novels, much more publicly derided for their poor standard of writing and portrail of a weak two dimensional female lead who represents acceptance of stalking and obsessive behavior in exchange for love. Well I suppose Twilight is too popular for them to attack, so they won't take it on.
I read loads of Judy Blume books as a kid, and if there was indeed any fuss surrounding their content I was too young at the time to know about it, yet I bet there was. I read Forever when I was nine (way below the target age for Blume's book), but it didn't make me want to go out and have sex with anyone. If it did, then every kid who ever read it since its first publication in 1975 would have been at it, they weren't.
As for blurbs claiming to promise tears and trauma for the readers, well only a fool would believe that. Those are just words carefully chosen by the publisher to grab the attention of their target audience, no different to the descriptions chosen for the back covers of misery memoirs designed to appeal to their parents. I sincerely doubt that most of the teens reading those books really expect those claims to be true, but even if they do get moved to tears occasionally when reading a book, what's so bad about that? They are far more likely to carry on reading as adults if they believe that there are books out there that can move you and transport you to another place than if they read nothing but Enid Blyton.