I’ve received quite a few comments, both here and on Twitter, from people saying “your blog would be better if you reviewed YA books”. Firstly, I appreciate when people take the time to leave comments, and the feedback is much appreciated. Secondly, I cannot stand YA, which is the main reason it’s very rare I read any books from that genre. As this is my little corner of the interweb I’m only really focusing on books that I want to read. If I didn’t I don’t think this would be fun anymore, and without me actually enjoying it, I’m pretty sure my online presence would slowly – but surely – fizzle away!
Why do I not like a popular and broad genre like YA? Well there’s many different reasons. But mostly I think it comes down to the overuse of annoying tropes, annoying habits and damaging relationships.
LET’S BREAK DOWN THESE TROPES AND HAVE A LOOK AT EACH ONE:
To me it’s rare I find an author that manages to pull off love triangles, without me wanting to quit the book and slap the main characters silly. I always feel like it’s the exact same thing!
- Protagonist can’t choose
- Protagonist won’t choose
- Protagonist get’s annoyed when anyone dares to expect them to choose
- Protagonist can’t see (or refuses to see) how the lack of choices affect those nearest and dearest.
It’s a clear example of wanting the cake and eating it too. The protagonist always seems to want to be friends with the one that isn’t chosen, and seems to get their feelings hurt badly if the other party doesn’t want so. Normally, that would be perfectly acceptable and understandable. But never in those books, because no one should upset the protagonist.
When the protagonist meets her love interest, it always reminds me of the setting from a Disney movie.
- There’s the increase in heart beating
- Trouble breathing
- In-explainable blushing
And in many cases, all this is followed by some kind of clumsy act. All this kind of makes sense in a paranormal setting, if the love interest uses their powers. But that just never seems to be the case. It’s purely caused by raging hormones.
The first few times I read this sentence, I wasn’t bothered. It was an okay description of how captivated the protagonist was in something, or by someone. But by now it’s just one of things that really annoys me. Sometimes it’s for such a long time that professional swimmers and pearl divers would envy the ability. When most people holds their breath, it leaves them
(surprise, surprise) out of breath. But the protagonist never needs to catch back up on her breathing.
Absent parents always seems to very convenient for the protagonist. But in the real world, the protagonist would probably have been removed from their parental guardian, if anyone knew just how much time they spend on their own. Of course this differs from book to book, but in some cases the lack of supervision is quite extreme.
I wish I could look into my friends, family and boyfriends eyes, and convey full sentences. And of course, that they would understand this with no trouble at all! How handy it would be, sitting at the table enjoying our morning coffee, and from one look suddenly know what we’re both up to that day, what’s for dinner, and who’s fed the cat. It would make my mornings a lot easier, that’s for sure! But since that’s not really the case for anyone, this only makes sense if the protagonist and those they interact with are paranormal beings. But that just never seems to be the case!
The protagonist always seems to think of themselves as ugly, weird, flawed and an outsider who doesn’t fit in. This is despite the fact that everyone around them swoons, and the compliments never seems to dry up. Yet, it’s never until the love interest makes the protagonist feel valued and loved, that they get any self-esteem. It might be the feminist in me, but I really don’t like when a woman needs a man to feel happy. This level of power is ridiculous, because the protagonist always ends up feeling like a nobody or a failure, of the love interest doesn’t spend every minute of every day with them.
These are just the main reasons why I usually stay away from YA books. But I could probably go on for a lot longer, if I also started talking about the lack of diversity, abusive relationships, the treatment of characters, lack and the special snowflake syndrome would probably require a post on it’s own.
When I think back of the YA books I’ve read (and there’s many), I can only think of one series where none of the above bothered me: TWILIGHT. I know this series is ridiculed and looked down upon. And if I read it for the first time now, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like it. But I read it at a time, where that was just exactly what I needed. So, despite the fact it pretty much contains every trope I stay away from now, it worked back then.
Do you like YA books? What’s your favourite book and trope? Or do you like me stay away from them? If so, why? Let’s talk in the comments!