Recently, I was looking at Kourtni’s YA Blog, and I realized that I hadn’t read many of the books she reviewed, and NONE of the more recent releases. I was naturally confused, as I thought I loved YA and would have read at least a few of the ones on her review index. But that’s when it hit me– I haven’t read a book for young adults in almost a year. I was so shocked at this fact that I couldn’t resist writing a post about it.
YA, for some reason I don’t know, has lost so much of its appeal to me. In my first two years of high school, and all of middle school, I devoured them and (with the occasional Stephen King mixed in) I would find the most delightfully simple, formulaic YA books I could. That and fantasy/dystopian YA pretty much made up my entire bookshelf. Then, towards the end of sophomore year, I started getting tired of the “same old same old” and switched to nonfiction stories (somewhat because of school), psycho thrillers, and adult fiction. Right now, I’m still in love with that genre.
I think the reason that I’ve moved away from the genre is that it has become predictable. The girl pines over the guy (or else tells herself she doesn’t like him) and then…. SHE GETS THE GUY! When I was younger, i loved that. Cheesy romance, action packed sequences, fab characters I couldn’t relate to but wanted to be. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, the thing that you need the most is to be able to easily predict the happy ending– and be right. And that’s not to say that all YA books have cliche endings, I know for a fact that many probably do not, but bare with me, I’m generalizing, and right now, I’m honestly leaning more towards realism that adult fiction can provide.
I’m 17, so it’s not that I relate to the people in adult books, it’s just that I don’t really feel like I relate to many people at all. There’s a part of me that only wants to read about the unknown, about what’s coming, about a phase of life that is completely foreign to me. It’s like now that I’m actually the age of the people in the books, the magic that made me feel like the books are real is gone. And that kind of sucks. It’s not that I don’t relate to specific characters, it’s that I like it when their experiences are something foreign or new. That draws me in far more than a book about something that I could actually be going through.
That being said, I don’t think I’ll necessarily stop reading YA forever. In fact, I’m reading Girl Out of Water right now, because I received it for review. It’s not like I hate the genre, it’s just that when given the choice, I will nearly always choose the book with more unpredictability factor.
Besides that, young adult books are, by nature, simple to read. That’s sort of the point. For me, I’ve become drawn to complication and fallen in love with complicated development and books that make me WORK to read. That’s just the mood I’m in right now (and have been for the past year) and YA just doesn’t fall into that. I would love to find a book about young people, targeted to young people, that was actually a literary work rather than solely a “fun read”. Unfortunately, that’s not the way our society works and I don’t think it would get a lot of attention anyways.
Maybe I’m wrong and I’m just stereotyping an entire genre filled with amazingly diverse (meaning unique not actually diverse) characters and I’m looking in the wrong place. If so, I want to know so that I can find the good ones for an ideal beach read (or in-class-this-lecture-sucks-read 😉 ).
Do you think all Young Adult books are predictable? Do you like the YA genre? Do you think people can outgrow YA?
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