She contrasts the history of YA fiction with the publishing industry's current practices.
Young adult books are developed by children's book departments, offered in children's catalogs, bought by children's buyers, sold in the children's area and tallied on children's best-seller lists. It's a strange custom when you think about it. (Imagine, for a moment, that music for teenagers were released by children's divisions - the same producers, marketers and publicists who brought out "Baby Beluga" and "Rubber Duckie" also brought out "Pimpin' All Over the World." It's a ludicrous concept, and not only because the teenage music industry virtually is the music industry.)
Based on the reviews I have read of The Rainbow Party there is not much to recommend the book, beyond the shock value of the book's premise. The reviewers were not kind. To be fair though, I have NOT read it.
In the hands of a gifted author controversial books become great conversation starters. Chris Crutcher shares a story that involves his book Chinese Handcuffs. His novel gave a young girl who was being abused, a way to ask for help. Whale Talk is one of the best books I have ever read.
Brashares shares my personal take reading.
Reading is possibly the safest and best way for young adults to explore challenging, complicated subjects, including sex. Readers take in books at their own pace. They can read one word a minute or one thousand and stuff it under the pillow if it gets too much. They supply the pictures in their own minds; no one else's are forced upon them. Probably most of us agree we'd like to expand their reading, not restrict it.