Should there be more f***ing swearing in YA?



I hope you guys are ready for a ramble about my thoughts on swearing. Yes I am about discuss whether YA books should contain cursing. No I don’t mean Harry Potter Imperious cursing, I am talking about Fuck! Bitch! Twat! I think you catch my drift.

In my last discussion post I mentioned a discussion I had with some other book lovers about periods being mention in YA, this then led on to swearing. I mentioned that Year 7s in the school I work at read A Curious Incident of the Dog at Night Time as part of the curriculum. Now if you have read this you will know there is swearing in this book. But what surprised me when I opened the book to read a few chapters to the class was that the swear words were all blacked out. Yes you heard me. Like a telegram in WWII retracting sensitive information, the pages were covered in blacked out words. The children could tell what the words were. They knew the words. If anything knowing there were swear words were what kept the class interested in the book.

It may come to a surprise to the book lovers out there but a lot of children don’t enjoy reading. They see it as a complete chore. So if a couple of swear words can keep children interested in a book then is it worth it? Because trust me they know these words already and worse ones. I had an 11 year old boy call me a fucking cunt, along with a few other colourful phrases, without taking a pause to think. Swearing is everywhere! However, just because they read it, doesn’t necessarily mean they are about to go swearing at every person they meet. Most of the time it just means they giggle when they see the word and continue reading.

So what do you think? Does a little swearing in YA matter if it keeps the reader interested? Or is it unnecessary? I can’t wait to hear what you thinks.


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6 thoughts on “Should there be more f***ing swearing in YA?

  1. I don’t think that including cussing as a way to keep a reader interested is the way to go with this. Personally, I find cussing to be acceptable when it is mirroring the real world. We all know that teens and adults cuss, so if every character in a book refuses to use such language then the book reads as a pale imitation of reality. That’s why I also can’t say that the use of cussing is unnecessary.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a great post, Amy! I’m a secondary school teacher and the kids have certainly enlightened me to some phrases I wasn’t aware of, let’s put it that way! I think there’s some importance in swearing being in the narrative of YA books because it’s natural. The majority of teenagers will swear in their every day life so it seems weird to me that this would be purposefully erased. I recently read The Spinster Club and thought it was very refreshing that this book had swear words and teen slang all over the place. Definitely something for people to think about, especially those not spending their days with teens!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment Kelly 😊 It’s great to hear the opinion of someone who works with children. I think you’re right about it being a part of every day life. I don’t see why it’s a taboo.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post Amy! I find this a really interesting discussion. Personally, I don’t think cursing should be used to keep a reader’s interest. But I also don’t think it should be censored at all cost. I find it best when it is used to add realism and make dialogue sound more authentic. Though I will say I really hate it when it is over-used because I personally just don’t like swearing very much, but that’s completely my personal taste.

    Also, Nina and I have nominated you for The Liebster Award! You can check out our blog post here: http://www.everywordadoorway.com/the-liebster-award/#more-2275

    Liked by 1 person

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