Wow, it's a bit quiet in here. Uh. *feels awkward*
So I'm doing a research project on young adult fantasy and how it might compare in theme, style, and content to adult fantasy. The idea is to pick two YA texts and one adult text and use these as tools of comparison. I'm using Holly Black's Tithe, and Charles de Lint's The Blue Girl (YA text) and The Onion Girl (adult text). (Yes, I am taking the most awesome class ever!) All of these texts are, to one degree or another, really concerned with violence against women and violence against girls/children - chiefly, but not limited to, rape and child abuse. At any rate, both the YA books - if you've not read them, I recommend, although I think de Lint's adult books are in some ways superior (and I say that as an egalitarian reader) - and the adult book are fairly graphic and similar in theme. (There's some sanitisation and I'll get into that - they're great texts to use because of their similarities, because variations stand out and are significant.)
HOWEVER, both the books are fairly recent - 2002 for Tithe, 2004 for The Blue Girl. I think urban fantasy generally is interestingly concerned with violence against women - perhaps because de Lint is so influential in the genre - but I also think that Tithe and The Blue Girl represent new levels of willingness to be graphic and honest with it in YA novels. I also believe they represent the move towards female protagonists for YAs as being as sympathetic as male protagonists, and also a broad tradition of women in faerie literature (I have so many ideas, guys, they're coming out of my ears, this essay will be a zillion words long - but the idea for me is that teenaged girls (and sometimes gay boys) are supposed by some authors to have special knowledge about faerie.) ANYWAY! My question to you is: am I right about the trend? I've read a lot of YA fiction but my knowledge is not enclyclopedic and I'm only 20. Do you remember YA fantasy, especially urban fantasy, novels published in '99 - '95 - '90 - '85 that deal seriously with child abuse, drug use, sex, violence? That feature girls or gay boys, especially "alternative" (rebellious, wrong side of the tracks, dealing with class prejudice, whatnot) types? That deal with faerie? How? Is faerie an escape, a dangerous place, a neutral location?
(Side paragraph: There's an argument that in YA fiction gay girls and boys are usually in similar positions to these alternative types - they find themselves feeling as if they're on the fringe of their school's society because they don't conform to heteronormativity, rather than because they don't conform to expectations about appearance, class, intelligence, committment to education. The difference is that these characters have little to no choice in this feeling of being different (although they may "pass" somehow) whereas other alternative types often speak of embracing their difference, or choosing it, and can point to significant moments that made them choose this kind of behaviour.)
Anyway, after all that blather - ladies (& gents?), I'm really interested to hear your opinions as well as your book suggestions. Hit me with it!