Tuesday, November 16, 2010

YA literature as product

I found this article very upsetting. James Frey, of A Million Little Pieces, the "memoir" which turned out to be fiction, has a company called Full Fathom Five. They hire young writers, give them amazingly crappy contracts where they have few rights and can't say they actually wrote the book. The goal is to churn out YA books as quickly as possible and produce a best seller that will get picked up for a movie. They have already begun this with the book I Am Number Four. I Am Number Four came out in August and was on the NYT best seller list but hasn't actually done very well in the YA community. I hope it stays that way. The book, however, was picked up to be made into a movie before it even came out.

James Frey clearly thinks he's pretty badass, and that conventional ethics and moral obligations do not apply to him. I think he and Nicholas Sparks would get along well. They both think quite a lot of themselves. Please don't buy anything that Full Fathom Five produces. Don't give them any of your money. It's bad enough that they churn out alien of Gossip Girl type books, but one of their proposed projects is “high-school revenge project” in which “four girls from separate cliques at a high school discover they’ve all been date-raped by the same guy and team up to plot vicious revenge.” It upsets me to think of such an serious issue being dealt with by a company like Frey's.

Maureen Johnson wrote a very thoughtful response on her blog in response to the article.

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