Earlier this month, Nielsen’s #KidsBookSummit caused quite an uproar on Twitter. Among other faux pas, the summit included a panel of adult YA readers who claimed they wanted to see less dystopian, more realism, and a possible name change to the genre (YAH, or young-at-heart, was suggested). Obviously I wasn’t there, I just read the play-by-play through Twitter, but the whole thing seemed all sorts of off and awkward and tone-deaf for a lot of reasons I won’t get into. It also sparked a pretty virulent reaction, mostly from YA writers, and a discussion of who YA is for.
A week ago, as I was scrolling through VOD options for a movie, I stumbled upon a blip of pop culture I’d all but forgotten about—the 2004 teen comedy about Christian and non-Christian teenagers, Saved! Though neither groundbreaking nor as whip-smart as Mean Girls, Saved! is nonetheless entertaining and offers a positive message of tolerance and self-acceptance. But perhaps the most memorable thing about the film is the primary villain, a self-righteous, bible-thumping bully played by Mandy Moore.