Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Observations on YA

As you can tell by all my recent reviews, I've been deep into YA fiction the last few weeks (months?).  There's so much coming out that I want to read, it seems like the genre has experienced an explosion and I don't want to miss anything good.  However, with all the reading does come some observations:

1. YA authors don't like to describe the main characters.  I first noticed this with Twilight (yes, I read book 1).  Bella isn't really described - we don't truly know what she looks like.  When all the snark started, many commentators speculated it was so that the reader could put herself into Bella's character and imagine that Edward was in love with HER.  The more YA I read, the more I think that's true.  I don't have a clear image of Cassia from Matched, or Eve from Eve (unless you count her red hair), or even America from The Selection (currently in progress).  The authors say "She was beautiful with long/short/wavy hair."  Great.  What does that even mean?  I think it's time for YA authors to take a class together on descriptive narrative.

2. Apparently, there can't be just one book.  Every book is "(Title) Chronicles Book 1" or what have you.  I love series as much as the next person, don't get me wrong, but can I please read a stand-alone?  Does every story really need to be told in 3, 4 or even 5 parts?  Another course suggestion: Conflict Resolution in 500 Pages or Less.

3.  Teens apparently only like reading about romance amid danger.  Think about it:  Juliette from Shatter Me loves Adam, and together they must brave the dangers of the Re-establishment.  Eve loves Caleb, and together they must brave the dangers of the king and his soldiers.  Cassia loves Ky, and together they must brave the dangers of their dystopian society.  Anyone seeing a common theme here?  I remember being a teen girl, and I remember how much I LOVED boys.  But I hardly wanted to read about loving boys ALL the time.  Course suggestion: The Inner Workings of Teen Girls.

4.  YA authors don't understand the concept of Sci-Fi.  I've read one good SF book for teens: Cinder.  Yes it's a series.  No, Cinder isn't exactly described very well.  Neither is Prince Kai.  Neither is anyone else for that matter.  Yes, there is a love-conflict.  But you know what?  It's REAL SF!  It's not just two teens falling for each other in a futuristic world where technology only comes into play when they're talking about what they're doing.  Cinder is a cyborg for crying out loud!  Most of the book is heavily focused on technology, interplanetary struggles, and other SF themes.  It's great!  I really wish that more YA authors, who are using futuristic technologically advanced worlds would do something more with it.  Make it more SF.  I know, if there are teens and even adults out there reading stuff like Cinder, they want more of it.  Course suggestion: SF Themes and How to Expand Your Horizons.

That's about all I have for now, although if you have more to add, feel free to comment!

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