Brought to you by OBS reviewer Valerie
YA Is The Way
Disclaimer: I do not mean in any way to be offensive. This is my attempt at a sarcastic, almost satirical post.
I haven’t finished a whole book in quite a while. Yes, you’ve read that right. I haven’t finished a whole book in quite a while. Between the busy activities of everyday life to the beckoning of certain TV shows to… okay I admit it, TV is cool.
And books are getting old. Or the plots are getting familiar. Take romance novels, for example. Under romance novels, we have Sarah Dessen and Sarah Dessen and everyone else. I read my first Sarah Dessen novel four years ago – all I remember is that the characters were quirky, and the main character learned to step out of her comfort zone. And I remember that same generalization from every single one of her books I read after that first day in 2010.
It’s not just romance novels. It’s the entire genre of YA. The protagonists either fall under “sarcastic, jerk wannabe” or “weak person,” and it has to stop at some point. Granted, there are great protagonists out there, but I haven’t met any of them in the past few months. Many of these characters just aren’t relatable. I won’t name names, but honestly, these characters are becoming one and the same.
Let’s talk plots now. As an aspiring author, I understand how hard it is to create a plot without too many things going on, all while creating a fast-paced novel in itself. However, in the dystopian genre especially, there tends to be an almost formulaic structure to the plot. Introduce the reader to the status quo, introduce the protagonist, create a situation such that only the protagonist can save the world, and BOOM. Hello novel. While I do realize that I’m generalizing, this article in itself is a generalization.
Of course, every article has a groundbreaking thesis or a jaw dropping accusation to be made. Here’s mine: no matter how bad the YA has gotten, no matter how uninteresting it has gotten, I will never be able to abandon it. Every single time I lose faith, a brilliant author such as Gayle Forman or Marie Lu or Lauren Miller enters the scene. These authors, along with many others I did not mention, understand the true essence of young adult fiction.
Young adult fiction is not formulaic. It’s smart, important, and heartbreakingly beautiful. Yes. I just called something related to teens beautiful. Deal with it. 🙂