Now, this should be a fun one.
Right now I’m suffering through a heat stroke, my head has been pounding for the last few hours and I have very little energy (thanks to my own stubbornness to enjoy the rare sun by sitting on the garden reading for too long). But I’m mustering up just enough energy to write this discussion for you guys.
And by discussion, I mean “rant”, because this topic just gets me so riled up.
What’s this topic?
People judging the YA genre for the worst.
Let’s do this.
Journalist “news stories”.
There’s been so many news articles lately that are basically just claiming YA books are bad in every way, shape and form.
In this one, they dub books about illness “teen sick-lit” and say it’s distasteful, while books about self-harm/murder/mental illness are breaking taboo. Brings up The Fault in Our Stars, Thirteen Reasons Why, and The Lovely Bones, as well as many others. There were even quotes saying ‘I’d finish reading and immediately reach for my blade.’
Yes, I agree that some books can glamorise illness. But this article is basically just one sided, and makes it sound like teenagers will copy whatever happens in the book. I’m sure it does happen…once or twice. And yet it’s written here as if every teenager that reads a book about self harm will start doing it themselves, as if the entire book was encouraging them to do it rather than showing them NOT to.
In this one, the writer claims darkness is dominating YA, with most books being about family breakdowns, gender uncertainty, bullying etc. They even make the point that maybe it’s because today’s teenagers are pampered and want to be reminded that other people live through harder times. They compare the hard hitting topics of today’s books to the “fairy-tale” romance of classics such as Pride and Prejudice.
To that, all I can say is…WHAAAT? Sure, in the article the writer says that the “dark” topics are important too, but then they just brush it aside saying “the majority of people don’t suffer from these topics”. Well so what? Doesn’t mean they don’t want to educate themselves! And can I just point out that ALL the books hinted at or mentioned are contemporaries? If you want something more fun, adventurous, something more enjoyable than thought-provoking, then pick up another genre! There’s plenty of fun fantasy adventures out there!
And that’s only TWO articles I found when doing a quick search about YA books on news websites. I hadn’t even seen those two before starting this discussion, so it just shows how many are floating around on the internet out there.
These are the most common things I’ve seen…
All YA books influence young adults into believing unrealistic situations.
YA books are all dark topics and are making teenagers gloomy.
YA books glamourise illness and encourage teenagers to self harm.
YA fantasy is unrealistic and clouds people’s judgement.
YA books are full of love triangles.
YA books aren’t as educationally stimulating as classics and are making teenagers soft minded.
First of all, YA books are usually defined by the age of the main character. If the main character is a young adult, it’ll attract young adult readers more.
So HOW can a fictional person’s AGE affect the quality of writing? How does that automatically mean it’s a bad influence? How does that mean it’s not as educational as classics?
Think of it this way, if classics such as Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights were published now, they’d be YA. With no changes made to the story. They’d be YA. The only difference is when they were published.
Secondly, YOUNG ADULTS ARE NOT SO EASILY INFLUENCED.
Every single article I’ve seen so far that talk about how bad YA books are, they ALL suggest that teenagers and young adults are easily influenced. That we’re all gullible little creatures that need protecting from the wide world. They all make out that we can’t form our own opinions, and the second we read something that’s opposite our own thoughts, we’ll just switch to that opinion instead. If we read a sad story, we’ll want it to happen to us. I don’t think so.
I honestly get offended by these sort of articles. Offended that they believe we’re so gullible. Offended on behalf of the author and their hard work being trashed. Offended for the people who struggle with the topics discussed, only to read articles like this claiming “the majority don’t struggle so we don’t need so many of these books”.
Young people nowadays are more open-minded than ever. We want more diversity. We want to learn. We know what we want to read about. It’s not like all these “gloomy” books with IMPORTANT issues are forced on us. We only read what we want to read.
Third, YA books aren’t all full of love triangles. I’ve dominantly read YA books for years, and I’ve read about…three books/series with love triangles in. That’s it. You’re looking in the wrong place.
Basically just this: How can reading ever be a bad thing?
People go on and on and on about encouraging people to read, especially younger people. So that’s happening, younger people are reading more now, more so that “Young Adult” is actually a genre now when a few years ago it didn’t exist. And yet now young people are reading, articles like this are in full bloom? What if someone wanted to read, but saw an article like that claiming it’s a bad thing, so they’re discouraged? How would that help with anything?
It’s simple really. If you don’t like the idea of YA books, then don’t read them.
I don’t like the thought of erotic books (the first that came to mind) so I just don’t read it. However I DON’T go around shaming people who do read it.
There’s absolutely no reason for people to claim others are reading the wrong thing. There is no “wrong thing” to read. If you don’t agree with it, then don’t read it. Leave it for people who do.
So there we have it!
One very long rant of a discussion post!
I’ve seen discussions about this before and my comments always end up being the longest, and with the hint of this topic being brought up in last week’s discussion, it was about time I wrote my own version.
What did you think of this rant/discussion?
Do you agree with what I said or not?
Do you get defensive about YA books, or do you stay away from them for the same reasons as the articles say?
How would you reply to articles that suggest YA books are a bad influence?
Join the discussion in the comments!
Until next time…
Come and visit me!