The Changing Times of YA Fiction

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Is it just me, or is YA Fiction not so...YA...anymore?

I could just be old, maybe I'm just losing touch with "teenagers" of today, who really knows. But honestly, a lot of the YA fiction I've read lately, I cannot believe that it's classified as YA. I know I wouldn't want my 13-year-old reading things like that!

Yes, I do read YA fiction. It's a nice in-between filler when I feel as though I've been reading too much "heavy" material, or when I feel like a quick read, or when I just want a break from adult reading. And I admit, when YA books get a lot of attention, I can't help my curiosity to read it and see if I agree or disagree with the hype. I'm a sucker like that.

First case: the ever-talked about and muchly-overhyped Twilight series. Since this isn't going to be a review (that would take entirely too much space), I'll leave my opinion in this one sentence: REALLY, STEPHENIE MEYER?! Moving along, I know that Meyer tries to skirt around the issue and leaves her descriptions as PG as possible, but I still don't necessarily feel it ordinary to have a YA book focus so much on obsession and wanting a man to take over your very being. Whilst reading it I can't help but feel almost as if I'm reading a weird version of Teenage Erotica. Strange. And dirty. But not in the good way.

Second Case: The Mortal Instrument Series. I realize I shouldn't exactly put this on the list because I'm only about 150 pages into the first installment (City of Bones, as pictured), but there's already one part where my mind tripped a bit and thought Hold up, what? I'm a bit turned off that the front cover's quote has the word "sexy" in it, but there's a dialogue section that has the word "manacles" and "kinky" together. I mean, I understand everyone has their thrills, but I don't think I want bondage and S&M to turn up in my teenager's book.

Third (and last) Case: Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist. And come to think of it, pretty much all of Rachel Cohn's books. First, I want to say that Nick & Norah is one of my favourite books (not the movie, I have to admit, as much as I liked it), and I'm not necessarily knocking the book. But I can say that I was 20 when I read it and was even a bit uncomfortable. Yes, the characters are 18 (thankfully), but when this is marketed towards the teen crowd, I find a quickie blowjob in the ice machine room of a hotel that has someone walking in on them to be pushing it just a tad. Tad.

I'm not naive enough to believe teenagers aren't engaging in such acts, but I'd still like my literature to not perpetuate it so overtly. Especially since I started reading YA books when I was about 7 (early reader...unavoidable when mother works in a library).

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I'm fairly obsessed with penguins, Peanuts (the comic), and the TV show Friends. Parentheses may or may not be (over)used in this blog, and books will pretty much be the only thing I ever talk about because they are my One True Love.

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