I watched with interest the ABC program Jennifer Byrne Presents this afternoon. She was joined in the studio by Australian authors John Marsden, Morris Gleitzman, Melina Marchetta and emerging author Steph Bowe. The topic was YA fiction and its phenomenonal growth in the book market. This program was filmed in 2012, so the growth must be even more expedential now. Part of the discussion was about whether certain topics are too dark, or should be taboo for the market. I say it depends on the age group targeted. Having just read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (will post a review on Goodreads), I would say it was very dark and disturbing. The recommended age group is 12+, but it really comes down to the individual child and what they are able to cope with. Certain themes and graphic descriptions may give some teenagers nightmares, whereas others would be able to handle the information easily. One author said that YA's are not likely to go and take up some inapropriate behaviour based purely on what they have read-but I think we need to be sensitive as to where an individual is at in their emotional and physical development. I remember as a 12 year old ( in 1970), picking up a Woman's Day magazine, and looking at the latest movie release reviews, complete with pictures. There was a shot from a Medieval movie, where a fighter had cut out the heart of a woman and was holding it aloft, blood pouring down his wrists. That image disturbed me greatly and I wished that I had never seen it. Let's let our young people explore, learn and grow, but at the same time be very careful, lest we let loose something we cannot take back.