Maybe you've been following the Twitter backlash to a recent Wall Street Journal article that argues that the themes in young adult novels these days are "too dark." (Twitter does so love a backlash.) The best response I've seen comes from Northwest author Sherman Alexie, whose The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian deals with some pretty heavy themes (sex, alcoholism, violence).

Why the Best Kids Books Are Written in Blood:

Almost every day, my mailbox is filled with handwritten letters from students—teens and pre-teens—who have read my YA book and loved it. I have yet to receive a letter from a child somehow debilitated by the domestic violence, drug abuse, racism, poverty, sexuality, and murder contained in my book. To the contrary, kids as young as ten have sent me autobiographical letters written in crayon, complete with drawings inspired by my book, that are just as dark, terrifying, and redemptive as anything I’ve ever read.

And here's a soundtrack for that article: Roadside Graves' great forthcoming album We Can Take Care of Ourselves (out in July) is based on S.E. Hinton's YA classic The Outsiders.
LISTEN:

Roadside Graves: "Love Me More"