Dear Book Lovers,

Some years back there was a popular slogan, “You can’t trust anyone over thirty.” (I think it became decidedly less popular when those people who were saying it became “over thirty.”) I haven’t heard it lately, but I think the belief lives on in the recesses of the minds of some writers and many editors of children’s novels.

Many of the authority figures in recently published tween and YA books are not trustworthy. While I know that adults are flawed (that’s a no “brainer”) and the situations in books need to be realistic, I wonder why so many of the adult characters in these books are so evil, messed-up or ineffectual. Is this what publishers think it takes to tell a good story? Or is it just the fashion to bash authority figures?

I wonder how this negative portrayal of authority figures is effecting tween and teen readers. Maybe it isn’t. What if it is? Do you think it could have some kind of an effect? What kind?