A few weeks ago I attended a live chat at WriteOnCon with literary agents Michelle Andelman and Joanna Volpe and YA editor Molly O’Neill. The chat was fun and informative and there was a point when they talked about the things they were not seeing in their inboxes. It seems there is an extreme lack of ‘funny’ when it comes to young adult literature.
At BEA, I talked to several school librarians and asked them what their students were looking for when they went to the library. All of them said that many teens, especially boys, look for funny books. They often have to refer them to middle grade or adult books because, again, there is a lack of humor in the young adult world.
That got me thinking.
I think funny is hard. It requires a very specific reaction: laughter. And if you can’t elicit it, you are explicitly NOT FUNNY. I feel like I know a lot of funny people and I admire their quick comebacks and their wit. But they don’t do funny for a living. They don’t do it full time.
There are a lot of ways you can fail as a writer, but there’s something different about trying to be funny in a public forum and failing. I mean, it’s flat out unacceptable.
So I can see why there might be a lack of humor out there. But for those of you who do funny, the consensus in my unscientific study is: bring it.
Have you read a humorous young adult book lately? I’d really like to and I don’t know where to begin.