Alright. Let me sum up what is going on right now for anyone out of the loop or slightly confused. Author Dan Brown is releasing a new version of his best selling novel The Da Vinci Code specifically designed for Young Adult readers. This version will ultimately be a shortened version of his book but will “maintain Brown’s original plot” according to his publisher.
Now onto the issues at hand.
I would like to speak on the behalf of most teen readers because I was once one. I read The Da Vinci code at 14 and understood it perfectly. I devoured that book and his others and now to imply I didn’t understand what I was reading is frankly offensive. By saying teen readers need an easier version of a book is immensely condescending to both YA readers and YA authors. This makes it seem like authors who write books considered YA are not as talented writers that cannot be complex. This simply isn’t the case because of how diverse the YA market has become. It is YA because many of the characters are young adults so young adults can identify with the feelings and struggles they are going through. So unless you’re making Robert Langdon a teenager solving these mysteries, there really isn’t a point in adapting it. If you were adapting this book for young readers around the 7 to 8 year range, it would make sense to maybe cut out certain scenes that would be viewed as “too adult.” Dumbing down the material isn’t the way to go.
This is going to sound very asinine but Dan Brown needs to stop making himself seem better than he actually is. His books are entertaining and interesting but they really aren’t all that complicated. The teenagers he is attempting to talk down to are ones that are studying Shakespeare and Dickens in class. If they can figure out classical authors who wrote in a style of the English language they aren’t familiar with, I can guarantee that they can also figure out his books.
Basically what I’m saying is I don’t support the assumption that YA readers are not as intelligent. So if you’re a parent reading this, don’t get your kid the abridged version. Buy them the real deal and don’t insult their intelligence. Worse comes to worse, they don’t understand some things and they have to look it up to gain more knowledge, which isn’t at all a bad thing. Allow readers to grow and don’t belittle the work of others because you have a bit of an ego.