Wednesday, October 10, 2012

YA Rant

I'm in a bit of a trench at the moment when it comes to reading young adult novels. I've been spending a lot of time with a book, Reading like a Writer by Francine Prose (best author name EVER. JEALOUSY). The entire novel focuses on a type of reading that doesn't let a single word pass through our notice. Word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph we break apart a novel and get to what the author was really trying to say. With brilliant classics, this technique is like salt: it brings out the amazingness and why it is a classic. However, with many a young adult read, I've found this technique begging not to be used.

Immediately after a young adult novel gets huge in the industry, all of the aspiring writers out there want to write that book. They are looking to become the next bestseller, the next J.K. Rowling or Stephenie Meyer. Literally. I was one of them that wanted to be Stephenie, but when I figured out, oh hey, I want to be a better writer, I don't really care about the fame at all, that was when all of the words started fitting better. I didn't write for me, I wrote to find a precious sentence amidst the muck. Which is really difficult. But anyway, aspiring writers took huge elements from Twilight or The Hunger Games and tweaked them a little bit. And by little, I'm serious. Tiny bits were changed.

A novel that I'm reading right now is exactly like The Hunger Games. It's The Selection by Kiera Cass (Best. Cover. Ever. WANT). I've been hearing great things about this book since before it was out. I was excited to read it. Now that I am, every single thing jumps out at me. Allow me to make two lists.

Hunger Games

  • Dystopian World, far in the future.
  • Districts, each specializing in some industry, bettering the whole (apparently).
  • Competition for fame and power
  • Love interest before said competition, although minor. Help each other get food.
  • Main character doesn't want to go into the competition.
  • Main character can sing.
  • Main character goes into the competition.
  • An announcer--in a blue suit--is loved by all the people, and is a regular for the competition.
  • Interviews before competition.
  • Random draw for competition
  • Designer and new wardrobe for main character.
  • Main character has young sister that looks up to her.
Get the picture? Oh, look, a list about:
The Selection

  • Dystopian World, far in the future.
  • Castes, each specializing in some industry, bettering the whole (apparently).
  • Competition for fame and power
  • Love interest before said competition. Main character helps him get food.
  • Main character doesn't want to go into the competition.
  • Main character can sing.
  • Main character goes into the competition.
  • An announcer--in a blue suit--is loved by all the people, and is a regular for the competition.
  • Interviews before competition.
  • Random draw for competition
  • Designer and new wardrobe for main character.
  • Main character has young sister that looks up to her.
*Cough*

See what I mean? I'm not even past page 65 and all of these things are way too similar. It's a copycat, and it's this kind of thing that I'm super wary of both in reading and writing.

Another red flag that I keep seeing is that tons of these YA books are being tossed into the market, but none of them are any good. Seriously. They are just published because it is what is trending, or hopefully trending right now. The writing is poor, the idea is somewhat sound, and the genre is perfect. A recent example that I struggled to get through was the Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross. There were typos. Typos. Seriously? Seriously. For reals. And they were obvious ones, like "fist" instead of "first"...which is a whole letter missing. Blaringly annoying. These books aren't being edited, and typos are a huge sign of that. And the writing was ok, but nothing compared to Laini Taylor or Maggie Stiefvater. At least those writers know how to describe a setting. It makes me angry because I want to read good writing, but it is becoming really hard to find without reverting to classics. I know it's out there...somewhere...

Last, but my biggest peeve of all time for this genre.

Freaking love. Love triangles. Multiple love interests. In any genre, this is something that is repeated, and is dry, and is overdone, and put in just for the sake of being there. Especially when it is the main point of the book too. I can vividly imagine the author explaining to her friends (it is usually a her, not surprisingly) in an almost hysteric tone that their main character, which found out she can do x thing because of her ancestors/mystical forest endowed her with it, falls in love with a forbidden person, and they're not supposed to do that, but they find a way, and la de freaking dah.

Please, please. Give me a great YA read that doesn't have a love triangle, has great writing, and is (for goodness sakes) original in some way. Recommend it now. Please.

1 comment:

  1. Yes! Thank you again for saving me from this book. I love The Hunger Games, and rather dislike the copycats. Also, Maggie Stiefvater is indeed amazing. And also, I'm sick of love triangles at the moment. That's why I'm reading The Lord of the Rings. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way.

    Also, Aluminum Otterpop. I like it.

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