Colleen at Chasing Ray muses about whether or not adult reviewers can fully enjoy the specific sub-genre of teen books that revolve around sex (rather than having sex be part of a more complex storyline). She cites reviews by two of members of the Cybils YA Fiction team (TadMack and Sara) of the book Angel's Choice, and notes in the comments that "this specific genre of YA titles that seems to test the limits of adult reviewers the most, I think. It's easy to escape into an adventure and mystery regardless of the age of your protagonist, but to crawl inside the head of a pregnant teenager? Not so easy." Colleen's point is that there are going to be books that teens love where adult reviewers "aren't going to get nearly as much out of them as teen readers will."
I think that this is a balance that all of the Cybils committee members will be working on. We do want the winners to be books that kids will enjoy, but we aren't kids ourselves, and we come at our reviews from the perspective of adults. Of course there are books that pull us in regardless of our age, too, but this won't be true for every book. It's an interesting situation, and I appreciate Colleen for highlighting it.
I should also add that the reviews posted by the Cybils committee members on their blogs are not necessarily indicative of how they are going to vote as they narrow down the Cybils nominations - they do have criteria that they are using to evaluate the books.
© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.