Mild drug use in YA?
Question: OK, my book is a dystopian science fiction novel and I'm thinking of targeting it at YA audiences. It does have mild drug use: pills people take to make themselves faster, stronger, smarter, etc. What the pills ALSO do is lower the lifespan so the government can keep the population under control. Is this suitable for YA?Answer:
Why not? From the sounds of it, you're not advocating drug use. Nor are you giving information teenagers could use to do real experimentation with drugs.
In fact, you're issuing a warning against drugs - portraying them as a deceptive trap used by unscrupulous people in power to manipulate the population.
Excuse my mini-rant, but...
Young adults are people with minds. Treat them as intelligent beings capable of grasping and weighing complex issues. Don't think you have to write stories for them that are as sanitized as a Disney film. Books (and films too for that matter) are about so much more.
Your job is to write with honesty, not to present an artificially whitewashed world that bears no resemblance to reality.
Books that are honest about real issues and invite young readers to reflect on these issues benefit society far more than books that ignore reality - and they do a better job preparing young people for life.