What is it about a genre of books that turn so many people off?
Throughout the years YA novels have gotten a bad rap. Is it the constant use of tropes? Or the movie adaptations that, as well all know, never do the book justice. Or the combination of both?
Growing up I read YA novels. I’m only 21 so obviously this would be the genre I was interested in. I was also a stupid teenager and read many books that I would not read today. As an example: I went through a Twilight phase. Then there’s the hated House of Night series and Hush Hush which gets an equal amount of dislike.
What is it about these books that get people reading in the first place? Well for me Twilight was after a bad breakup and it turned my attention else where. Bella has little to no personality, no character, and is a vessel for young girls to put themselves in. Edward is “supposed” to be a perfect guy and unfortunately being in a relationship was only on my mind at the time.
However, this is the first trope: a female lead that is supposed to be strong and liked but really there’s nothing about her except that one “special” thing she never knew she had. There are exceptions to this: The Hunger Games is a good example, but it does fall under another trope: the love triangle.
Man, do love triangles get hate anymore. At the moment I’m trying to avoid any story with a forced romance, and love triangles are no exception. Of course she (even he) has two people who want them and my god it is just the end of the world that they have to choose. In reality who has to deal with love triangles as forced as the ones in books? But the thought of not one, but two people trying for your affection is what reels you in.
There are plenty of other tropes: the side characters that are thrown to the side when it comes to the movie. There’s just not enough time to flesh them out while getting all the plot points AND the forced romance in there.
And speaking of movie adaptions, they’re not really helping the genre’s case here. There is a movie review show that I watch constantly (mostly made up of 20-30 yr old men) that will shit on the YA genre any time a new movie comes out. You look in the comments and see dozens of people defending the movie, saying what happened in the book made more sense. Unfortunately when it comes to movies, reading the book is not a prerequisite. The movie should get all the main plot points.
The Maze Runner is what I think of. “Oh just make a ladder and climb out.” In the book the maze is in a building so they had no where to go. They even talked about climbing to the top before but where do you go? (Then there’s the grievers that can climb to the top which was seen in the movie but let’s just forget about that…) They only had one way to get out and that was the little griever hole you had to swing into (that change I didn’t really mind.)
What I’m trying to say is the choices the movie makers make don’t always reflect what the book is trying to say. Important points in the book don’t always make it to the big screen and leaves many people confused. “Well read the book.” No. You shouldn’t have to read the book to understand the movie.
But there is good in the bad, but because people assume all YA books follow the same formula they steer clear of them. I know of many adults that read Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children (which is being made into a movie and hopefully gets justice.) Harry Potter should be in there but thankfully we got good movies out of the books (most of them.)
With all that being said there’s no reason for you to not read these books. Do I think some of them have a bad influence on young teens? Absolutely. Take House of Night and the main lead, Zoey. I LOVED Zoey when I first read the book. She was pretty, had dark hair, and made fun of girls who were bulimic. She slept with numerous guys and still found no fault in it. Why the hell did I like this character? Because my views were different back then and thankfully have changed. But to someone young this can send the wrong message (and I say steer clear of those books.) Hopefully the reader has enough sense to not look up to these characters. How about look up to Hermione? She’s a good example.
In the end no one is stopping you from reading these books. No one’s opinions should change the genre that keeps you reading. I say if it gets people reading it should be a good thing. There are bad ones out there, but you have to get through the bad to find the good, even if that means years and years of reading cliche female leads who leave no impact whatsoever.
*On a side note I’m excited to get back into blogging. It’s been a rough season with work, but now that things are starting to slow down again, I’ll be posting more often.*