Is Something Wrong With Young Adult Books?

And What's The Fix?

I recently, and quite accidentally, found a most insightful blog named Obsession with Books. Under the 4/18/16 post, I discovered I'm not the only one who wonders why everything is bait-and-switch these days. For now, I'm going to post the original article below, as well as a link to the page. In the future, I'm going to explore this fascinating content from the eyes of a writer as well as a reader. Enjoy. 


Why the Young adult genre is frustrating me!

 
WHY YA IS FRUSTRATING ME!
You know, I read so many young adult books that I shouldn’t be surprised by the recurring storylines but I still find myself shaking my head on numerous occasions and just hoping for something new. I tried to mix up my reading a little recently after hitting a dreadful slump but I still went back to YA; which admittedly is my fave but I’d love to read something a little more fresh and unique.
The past few books that I have read seemed to all blend into one another because they were all so similar:
I’d love any recommendations if you have read something really amazingly awesome recently that stood out from everything else?
My gripes!
The ‘dreaded’ love-triangle * I think this point would be at the top of almost everyone’s list, it has been done to death unfortunately, I’m not a huge hater of love triangles if it is done right but to be honest, they rarely are and someone is always bound to end up hurt (& then they end up with a series of their own!). It also always seems to be the girl who gets two guys, I read a heap of YA novels and I have never read about two girls wanting the same guy?
The ‘necessary’ heart-ache or heart-break * Why oh why do authors find it necessary to cause unnecessary drama when it comes to a romance? Why can’t a couple have a relatively ‘normal’ relationship without the hidden problems that always pop up that seem to be thrown in for the shock factor alone but doesn’t actually contribute to the storyline?
The ‘special’ main character that has a hidden talent that they are completely clueless about * I have read quite a few books where the MC has no idea that they are ‘special’ or of another kind or species, I mean they know that there is something odd going on, wouldn’t you stop and panic just a little bit and worry about why you’re different. Clueless! It seems to be something that is all too common and the main character is always shocked but adjusts seemingly well into their new role of whatever it is they are.
The ‘absentee’ family * Why do a majority of characters have no parents present or they have left them or are deceased? I love reading books that have a strong family dynamic, where there are boundaries and realistic themes but it seems to be lacking in YA.

What are your thoughts on this subject?? Are there any gripes that annoy you in the YA genre?
 
 

9 comments:

  1. It's not just you. I haven't been impressed with many YA books this year, especially from debut authors. They all seem to be all hype and nothing more. I need more than hype, pretty book covers and instragram picture of people who never actually even bother to read/review the damn books!

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  2. I agree, I have seen waves and waves of the same theme it's driving me ... to sleep.
    Having said that I have found a few gems here and there

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  3. You're definitely not the only one, Sharon. I have only read one or two IMPRESSIVE and UNIQUE YA books this year. I feel like YA is all about trends. Like how vampires were famous in the Twilight aftermath, now it's fantasy and everything just sounds like the same old story. I'm so tired of romance drama and also the absentee parents!
    Great post, Sharon!

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  4. I so agree with you on all of these. I'm actually glad there aren't 2 girls after the same guy. Can you imagine the drama that the author would create. :p I have read a few where the triangle was done well, but I agree, it is rare.

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  5. Yes why is the family always gone!?
    And arrghhhhh love triangles!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!
    I am also tired of the heroine who is a nobody but at the same time super speshul and good at everything

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  6. I prefer adult to YA, but I do read probably an equal amount of both. YA does seem to be rather trope-y. The love triangles I actually like, but I agree with you about the absentee family thing. It's so great and refreshing to find YA books that have strong family relationships or at least ones that they're working on, even if they aren't perfect.

    Another thing that bothers me though is the self-deprecating characters, the ones who are amazingly beautiful but somehow think they're hideously unattractive and unappealing and no one would ever like them.

    If you haven't read the Steel & Stone series by Annette Marie, you might want to check it out. It doesn't have any of these things :-)

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  7. Yessss, a lot of this really annoys me about the YA genre so I actively seek out novels that are different! I think a few recent books I've read recently that don't go by this trope include the Unexpected Everything which doesn't feature a love triangle or an absent family and in fact, tries to work it out with her dad and also some Aussie YA titles, including My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier and The First Third by Will kostakis.

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  8. Yep, I am being very picky about YA titles of late. You are not alone. I don't read contemporary YA, but even my favorites like Dystopians, Fantasy and Paranormal are filled with these gripes.

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  9. I completely agree with all of these gripes! Luckily, I think the love triangle trope is fading (PHEW!) but I still see so much romantic angst, absentee parents, and fantasy novels full of typical tropes. I also really detest marketing that claims that every YA novel is the new "Game of Thrones" or an adult rip-off because it implies that young adults can't read adult fiction and that they need a watered down version of something much more complex and better. I want marketing and just the books in general to cater to an audience that is intelligent and feminist and not silly enough to be satisfied with these repetitive tropes! I hope the future of YA is moving away from your comprehensive list onto something bigger and better! *fingers crossed*

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