Some might argue that young adult fiction is not a good form of literature. They might say that it lacks quality or that the novels are simply written to please the audience.
Others would say the complete opposite. They would probably remind us not forget that some of the most popular YA novels have also reached adult audiences.
Now I’m not exactly a fan of “sitting on the fence” but in this case I will as I do have valid points for each side of argument.
I do feel as though YA novel is a real form of literature, though I’ve heard many of my teachers scoff at the novels we teenagers are currently reading especially those involving vampires and werewolves. I also cannot deny the fact that I too have turned up my nose many times at a vast amount of the novels being produced for this age group. However it is not because I think the novels are poorly written but because I find them to be fake.
As you may or may not have noticed the word fake has been overused by us teenagers recently but I am going to use it in this case simply because it is the first word that comes to mind when discussing YA fiction.
The problem with young adult fiction is that the characters and what they go through is fake. Some of these authors write novels for teenagers thinking that they know so much about us without actually doing research.
Sorry folks there is no guide on How Teens Act and What They Are Going Through in 2014.
These authors have not been teenagers for some time and their children (if they have any) are either too young or too old for them to get some sort of idea of what teenagers are up to these days. This makes it hard for them to connect with their audience.
Sometimes I read these novels I picture a woman in her late thirties, with a pen and notepad sitting in her living watching Disney Channel on the T.V making a list of what teenagers are like.
- Teenagers are angsty.
- Teens are brats who talk back too much.
- Always rebel.
- Hate parents.
- Defy all authority.
- Over obsessive relationships.
- Popularity is the most important thing in life.
- Nerd wear glasses and have braces.
- Mean Girls is a realistic representation of the life of average teenage girls.
While they create this list I also picture them drooling like a mindless zombie….
If anyone actually believed anything on that list, you might want to stop watching today’s so-called popular forms of entertainment featuring teenagers (I don’t have cable so I don’t know what’s on these days).
That entire list can be found in over half of the YA novels that I have read between the 6th and 12th grade. Now in the 6th grade I didn’t know better. I thought that in middle school girls and boys dated and that dating was really important because like anyone who’s anyone is dating. Then I got to the 7th and 8th grade and realized that was stupid. Only two of my friends dated and the relationships lasted a couple days. If they were lucky it lasted two weeks tops. However I then formed an idea of what high school might be like, however I realized before I arrived (thank the Lord), that what these books and what T.V told me about high school was nothing like high school at all. The other 9th graders hadn’t figured it out so quickly, but they did by October.
The young adult novels that moved me the most were the ones where the characters acted their age. I’m not saying that there aren’t mature thirteen year olds out there but most thirteen year olds are at a point in their lives where they are now trying to decide on whether or not they want to make a change in who they are or if they’re happy with themselves. Unfortunately many of them are unhappy with who they are because they think that they’re losers due to the idiots who write television for that age group.
Anyone ever watch the show Drake and Josh or maybe the show Unfabulous?
Don’t watch those if you want an idea of what teenagers are like. Please…I’m begging you.
When I was glued to a book it was because I knew the character and I could trust them to be an accurate representation of those around me. When I got to the point where I could no longer relate to the majority of the books I was reading I began to create my own characters who were like those in my age group.
I hope that this post will encourage YA authors to take into consideration that when writing for a young adult audience, the characters are extremely important. If your character is fake, your book won’t be read. If your character is relatable and someone that your young readers can truly connect with, then your book will remain with them even after they’ve read from cover to cover.