Ultimately, Chuck explores the value of HONESTY in books for teens, pushing for a genre unfettered by parental expectation and censorship. So at about 2am last night I wrote a rant:
Why do we bitch and moan about the concepts presented to young people in literature? I mean, Holden Caufield didn't have a problem with honesty, about showing the world real, about slapping the “f” word in there because life has a lot of “f” word, a lot of situations that merit it's barbaric sting. YA shouldn't be about shocking or shivering up your audience, but telling them the truth, even if its ugly, because people come together in shared truths, in failures, and if we're not honest about those things, how can we look in the mirror every damn day? Don't take out the brutal truth of your writing, the gravelly vulnerability, because that's what gives it heart. Don't give me your flowery, censored world, talk to me about what's real, what hurts you, what makes you want tomorrow. Give me a universe of your imagination, but one as true and imperfect as you.
Dear publisher: teenagers make mistakes, teenagers are tumultuous and ugly on the inside, teenagers are desperate, teenagers are smart, teenagers are going to buy your books and make you money. Get me? No, I won't take out that thing with the place and that person. Sorry.