A Teen Blogger’s Falling Out With YA Books

Credit: Scholastic.com

I came across this interesting Guardian article where a teen blogger for the site, Hawwa, explained that her interest in YA Books was starting to diminish due to the type of content that was being published out there. And, in my opinion, she made some good points. Here is some portions from the article:

My ultimate opinion is that all this comes down to the fact that these novels often do not explore ideas, but rather that far, far too much of the time there is a romance driving the plot instead. In An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, for example: Who were the Augurs? How could they do what they do? Where did the jinn actually come from? It felt like the author dropped in a few intriguing and exotic words, described a few trials and then let the rest of the plot form around lust/rape, murder threats, torture and confusing mystical beings… or real beings that actually belong in the world created? I still don’t know. Or Divergent by Veronica Roth: so popular, but in my personal opinion, so overhyped.

That word there – hype – is the problem; it is why I’m having such issues with novels, and it’s inevitable: the rise of fandom, the extreme hype, all that is perfectly acceptable – people are allowed to share their love for whatever book they choose, after all. However, what is also inevitable is the slow indoctrination of that hype into those who have never read the book: if it reaches or exceeds expectations, that can aid a reader’s opinion of a book. When it doesn’t, however, that reader feels as if they have just plummeted off a cliff and into a sea of ripped and shredded hopes – as dramatic as that sounds.

I crave books that nestle words into sentences that I do not understand. I want to go and find my dictionary every now and then: I want to be educated while I read. I want to be so immersed in a storyline that the world around me disappears and morphs into the one I am being woven into. I want to be inspired by a lace of rich and detailed imagination that I have never stumbled into before. I want more books with Jandy Nelson’s beautiful and compex sentences in I’ll Give You The Sun; and more books like – bear with me here – The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.”

I want to start off by saying I have no problem with YA books.

But when I read this, I reacted “That’s why I don’t read a lot of YA books.” I need to be challenged when I read. I need to both absorb myself into another world and learn something new all at the same time. When I read YA books, I sometimes don’t get that feeling, which is why I try to stay away from them and read a lot of the classics. The simplistic sentences, weak story lines, and lack of variety.

However, I think Hawaa’s critique of YA books is really geared towards the ones that are more popular and over-hyped. I mean all the plots and themes she mentions are exactly like The Hunger Games, Twilight,  and Divergent, all books that are popular but to some people have questionable writing. Not all YA books are like this and I think Hawaa just hasn’t gotten the chance to find the right book in the literary pool. She found The Fault in Our Stars so there is still a chance.

It’s okay for YA authors want to speak in a language that teenagers will understand. That doesn’t mean you should speak to them like their children. They may not be technically be adults but should be treated that way, especially when it comes to books.

If you want to read the full article, you can find it here.

Thoughts? All opinions are welcomed.

Published by karma2015

I was born and raised in New York. I still live in New York but kind of sick of the city and one day I wish to move to the UK.I have a Masters degree in Library Science and I currently work in a special collections library. I loved books ever since I was a little girl. Through the hard times in my life, my love for books has always gotten me through. Just entering another world different from my own intrigues me. As long as I am entering in another universe, I like to create my own as well. I love to write and hopefully I will be able to complete a novel.

4 thoughts on “A Teen Blogger’s Falling Out With YA Books

  1. I agree with most of this. Though that’s also exactly why I read YA (as well as everything else): to have something easy to read inbetween the books that do teach me something. They’re just so easy to get through! Also, comparing YA with Adult, or even classic novels is just a dangerous thing to do; obviously they focus on a different audience and have a different purpose.
    I started reading YA probably around age 9, though back in my day they were just the more difficult children’s books (for 13-15 year olds); YA wasn’t even a thing yet like it is now.

    1. I thought the same way! I think back to all the YA books I read when I was younger and I can’t remember them having this simplistic language. They weren’t exactly difficult but didn’t have this easy language either.

  2. There are some very good points in this post. I understand where you are coming from. I read mostly YA, but recently I wanted to expand my reading and branch out into classics, adult fiction, and even non-fiction. It has made me want to continue reading non-YA books because I want to be challenged and I want books that make me think. This new trend of YA books (especially the VERY popular ones) are just not enough anymore.

    1. YA books just have lacked the luster they had in the past. Their more concentrated on keeping up with the trends than putting out well thought out content.

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