Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Harlequin Teen Panel

I certainly read romance as a teen. Not a great deal as it happens, but it was readily available. So it is strange that I baulked a little at the idea of Harlequin starting a line specifically for teens.

It seems that even in my own mind there are some tangled strands between the idea of reality versus fiction, love and sex, genre and moral virtue. Certainly reading is good, and romance is as appropriate as any other genre (if not more so).

I just hope they get a panel of kids that is more or less representative--to help move this venerable publishers into the current millennium (Not every damn thing for girls has to be pink, for a start).

A few years ago I might have had more trouble imagining a line of Harlequin books I could give to teen relatives for Xmas. But since their expansion into manga and non-fiction I suppose anything is possible. (But I do wonder why the manga line is not featured on the eHarlequin website?)


"Harlequin will be launching a new line of Teen fiction books in the future. These books will be different from the books that Harlequin publishes for women today.

In addition to our new line of books, Harlequin has also just launched a Teen Research Panel for young readers ages 13 to17 who are U.S residents."


Anonymous said...

Had a little 'do as I say, not as I do' moment? ;)

I hear you. Happens to all of us.

There's nothing wrong with teenage girls reading romance (or erotica, IMHO, but whatever). Warning, stereotypes ahead: it's kind of like violent videogames and airsoft for teenage boys -- the more healthy outlets they have *in moderation*, the less likely the emotions are to spill over.

Case in point: my little brother is the most meek, mild-mannered intellectual guy of all of his friends. He loves violent videogames and airsoft and archery. I think having an outlet for his academic stress is great, and while I've no doubt it desensitizes him a bit to real-life war footage, maybe that's a good thing. He's healthy, happy, has lots of friends, make straights As at a top college and has never even had one detention.

Romance/erotica was a way to keep myself from going stir-crazy at home as a teen and simply jumping the bones of the nearest guy in sight. SO MANY HORNMONES. I actually read mostly non-romance back then, but romance was my guilty pleasure equivalent. And it worked: no pre-college sex, and damn proud of it, too, considering the revolving door at local clinics and the family way some of my friends ended up (one dropped out at 15!). No drugs or alcohol, either. So much for all of those 'declining morality among the new generation' arguments. XD

Anonymous said...

...And leave it to me to mistype hormones. My bad. This is Persephone G, btw. Hope you had a good New Year's Eve, Emily!

Angie said...

I guess I'm just skeptical of the idea that teens who want to read romances in the first place would want a line written especially for teens. I mean, what, are they all going to be "sweet" stories? Are they going to teach lessons? With falling anvils?

I was a teenager in the seventies, and devoured the fat historical romances of the period (the ones with lots of explicit sex, and rapes, and some guys who were pretty jerkish, and all that) as fast as I could get through them. I knew what I liked and what I disliked and the "inappropriate material" didn't hurt me any.

I guess I'm just not seeing what the point is. It's not like the publishers or bookstores stop teenagers from buying regular romances. I'd probably have specifically avoided books "for teens" when I was that age; I liked the ones for adults just fine, thanks. Maybe modern teens are different, although I'm dubious.


kirsten saell said...

I guess I'm just not seeing what the point is.

The point is making money. I never read the Sweet Valley High books, either (I was more into Catherine Coulter and Rosemary Rogers until I realized not all romance heroes had to be assholes), but lots of my friends did. And I'm sure the publishers who put out those teen-targeted books made plenty of scratch...

Teddy Pig said...

I'd probably have specifically avoided books "for teens" when I was that age

Hell, I sure did. I remember it well.

Blue Skies, No Candy by Gael Greene

Amanda Young said...

Anyone else have an after achool special flash back when reading this? When I was younger, I wouldn't have been caught dead reading anything marked "for teens". I see a lot of parent's buying these books and no one reading them.

veinglory said...

I just noticed they count 13-17 (i.e. not legal?) as teen, but not 18-19...

Unknown said...

I agree mostly with Angie. Sophisticated teen readers looking for a romance novel would most likely avoid anything written specifically for teens. However, I suppose there are less sophisticated, more sheltered teens out there who would might read them.

My problem with adults writing and marketing teen romance books specifically targeting teens is that they aren't really true-to-life. Some (underage) teens fantasize about and/or experiment with sex -- especially when they think they're in love. If an adult writes a romance that targets teens and that story contains sex of any kind, can you imagine the backlash? There would be accusations of promoting/condoning premarital/underage sex, etc. Makes me cringe to even think about it. :-/

Unknown said...

I'm guessing the appeal is going to be the teen characters? I know as a teen, I read a lot of adult fiction, including romance, but I loved finding romance/fantasy/SF/whatever with teen characters. There was an imprint called Teen Tracks that I used to like. And Sweet Valley, bless them.

I'm 35 now and I still love well-written teen fiction, with the plus that I can pass it on to my 12-year-old. I specify well-written because some of it is terribly anodyne--or painfully issue-laden.

So I'm quite excited about this new line.

I do wonder about how carefully they'll have to tread for fear of outraged parents complaining about role models and irresponsibility. Which could mean their books become anodyne, too. I really hope not,though.

Athena Grayson said...

IIRC, Silhouette used to have "First Love" as a teen romance line. Don't remember if HQ did anything similar or not. But man, we devoured middle school. By junior high and HS, we were reading Johanna Lindseys and I discovered Laurie McBain's "Wild Bells to the Wild Sky" (dumbest. title. ever. but oh, so good book). If HQ has done their homework, they're looking for the younger set--the best of the YA world seems to feature books targeted at one age group which feature main characters a few years older.

Rachel Vincent said...

I know I'm late to this discussion, but I thought I'd chime in. I'm one of the launch authors of the Harlequin Teen line, and I can assure you that my books are not sweet. Nor could they possibly be considered "pink" in any way.

I grew up reading horror and fantasy, and I write what I like to read. My YAs are dark urban fantasies, with no life-lessons. The characters aren't squeaky-clean, nor are they particularly clean-mouthed. They're normal 16-18 yr. olds dealing with both real life and abnormal problems. It is fantasy, after all. ;-)