Hey everybody! So I’d like to talk about why YA books haven’t been involved in my reading as much more mature novels and classics have. I’ve constructed a short list, feel free to prove me wrong in the comments. Also, I haven’t read a YA book in about a year or two but even at the time I was already feeling negativity towards these novels.
- Same Plot. Different Characters. I’ve always noticed that the plots amongst YA books has been reciprocated into other novels. The Hunger Games (published 2008), Divergent (published 2011), and The Maze Runner (published 2009) all have a similar plot regarding the first of each series. All three consist of teenagers being manipulated by a form of authority, mostly the government, and eventually rebelling or escaping. There are dozens of similar novels!
- Authors Are Living Their Teenage Fantasies. This came to my attention when John Green (or was it someone else?) said that he was told that his books are his way of fulfilling his teenage fantasies. I realized this was true. Although Looking for Alaska is probably one of the best Young Adult novels I’ve read, Green did base it off his experiences at an extremely similar school. I’ve read this book about 4 years ago and at first I didn’t realize that the novel could just be Green reliving his fantasies once he gotten older.
- There’s A LOT of Twilight Knock offs. Ever since Twilight was published (2005) there has been an increase in supernatural romances. Vampires were already getting a lot of attention at the time because of shows like True Blood but Twilight definitely sparked the niche in YA novels. There are countless novels with no originality because they focus on romance between humans and some sort of supernatural vampire, angel, or wolf. I won’t even mention the cover knock offs.
- Lack of Diversity. Being a hispanic reader I’ve noticed that as I read YA, most of the protagonists have been upper-middle class white females. Although most novels really don’t mention the character’s race, the only people who can really relate to the characters are other teenage, white, suburban, wealthy, girls.
- Lack of Diversity. This time I mean lack of diversity in AUTHORS. Looking through my collection of YA novels that I’ve acquired throughout the years, I’ve noticed that a lot of authors are white. I give publishers props, there has been an increase in female writers but where are the black writers? Hispanics? Asians? Walking throughout the Barnes and Noble YA corner, I only notice a handful obviously ethnic names. I don’t really want to make this a race thing so I’ll finish this point.
- Not Challenging Enough. So many YA books have basic vocabulary with a simple plot. I get that writers are writing for a younger audience but teenagers need to be pushed to their full potential. Write about stories during historical events like The French Revolution, the Renaissance, Columbus’ trip to Central America! Use bigger words because reading is the only way I exercise my vocabulary! Schools don’t put enough effort in expanding our vocabularies so we need to be educated through books! Teach us! Make us think! Make us want to find the definition to that word!
That’s why I think YA novels aren’t worth the hype that they recieve on social media, especially on Booktube. So many booktubers are so YA centric that the only types of videos they post are about YA novels. Why don’t you use your social media power to help your viewers integrate other genres? Not saying ALL booktubers, only SOME.
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If you know any YA books that will change my mind, comment it below!