How YA Contemporary Falls Short

For the 6th #BroodyBFF Challenge (and the first in like 3 weeks that I’m actually completing on time), we were tasked with writing about YA contemporary.  This seemed super fitting, given that Broody is so often found in this genre, and so it took me a while to think about exactly how I wanted to approach this topic.

 *Cue Jeopardy Music* And now, a word from our sponsors… add Brooding YA Hero’s new book on Goodreads! *End Jeopardy Music*

Well, now that we’re back, I’ve got it all figured out (thank the gods).

In honor of BROODING YA HERO, we’re going to write about all of the reasons why YA Contemporary doesn’t really work well for me.

Don’t get me wrong.  I freaking love it as a quick read to mix in with my other books, but I could never exclusively read Contemp, whereas I could a lot of other genres, if forced to.

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  • It gives you a super unrealistic perception of high school.  I mean, in what world are freshman and sophomores (and even upperclassmen) going to whole school parties every single weekend? The amount of partying that takes place has never really sat right with me, and honestly I’ve never felt like I would fit into a YA contemporary.
  • The love triangles are CONSTANT.  Let’s be real.  At least 70% of my friends are single at any given time, and that’s fairly normal.  It’s weird for someone to be constantly in love with multiple people, and for everything to work out happy in the end (which I guess is a separate issue but oh well)
  • SCHOOL!!! Where is it!?!?! These kids are going to high school (7 hours/day) but yet they still have endless time to hang out with friends, do nothing, or just generally do whatever they want.  Even when the MCs are super smart they still have their entire after-school hours to be free.  That’s not how it works.  School takes time.  Authors should start showing that.
  • YOU CAN TELL WHEN THE AUTHOR ISN’T A TEENAGER/ HAS NO EXPERIENCE WITH THEM.  I REPEAT.  DO NOT WRITE A CHARACTER YOU CANNOT RELATE TO.  This is more of an issue with specific books, but I hate it when an author clearly has no experience with a high school life (which is weird, since everyone does) and then they write things that literally nobody would ever say or do because they think that’s how teenagers act.  The “I can take on the world and never die” stereotype may be true for some, but not every person feels this way.  And contrary to popular belief, most teens know that they can die, and won’t be stupid or say that they’re invincible.

All of this being said, I obviously love YA because who doesn’t, and it has some seriously strong redeeming points, and I would be remiss if I didn’t include them

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  • The love is normally super cute and well done.  If you’re looking for a cutesy non-extreme-romance, it’s the perfect genre. I adore the way that the characters act together, and it makes me smile ❤
  • It’s nice to read about “normal” people in a way that is still removed enough from your own world that you feel like it’s an escape.
  • Sometimes, the author does an amazing job and the characters are relatable in a way that makes you realize that you aren’t the only one who has a bad habit of stubbing your toe on the same table every time you walk through the room or– wait, I’m not the only one who does that, am I? Anyways… it helps you relate to yourself more when you can see a character that is, well , you.  And that’s something literally only contemporary YA can give to high school/college age kids.

Basically, those three points are big enough that I’m still always going to read YA even if I absolutely hate it sometimes… which is contradictory, but, who said human beings have to make sense?

Check out Becoming a Main Character by Brooding YA hero here: Goodreads

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What do you find annoying about YA? What are your favorite parts? Do you love Brooding YA Hero?


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7 thoughts on “How YA Contemporary Falls Short”

  1. I love contemporary YA, but you do make several good points. The portrayal of party life is everywhere. But I mean, it also does happen…maybe us readers don’t relate because we’re the kids that are home reading rather than out partying? IDK. I also think that high school changes with every decade, so it’s hard for authors to have that setting relate to everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes that’s true about the changing of the times. I agree that partying does happen, but at least in my town most people have smaller parties (tops 20 people), not the giant whole school parties every weekend that are described in stories. But you make a point about some people having that lifestyle. I guess it’s just the prevalence that bothers me


  2. I loved this post! Contemporary is generally my go-to genre, but I have to agree with your points here. The amount of partying is ridiculous, and the fact that school never seems to take up any time and they can just chill and do whatever they want ALL THE TIME is completely unrealistic? But then at the same time, those things are what makes me enjoy the story because it isn’t exactly like reality. If the story was just about teenagers moaning about homework, I doubt many people would enjoy it because there would essentially be no storyline and it just be boring and repetitive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you liked it, thank you!!! I totally get what you mean about the unrealistic-ness making you enjoy it more. My problem is that I start to roll my eyes and stop enjoying it. I guess that’s why I’ve always preferred dystopian and Fantasy lol 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. YESSSSSS. I’m not in high school yet but the amounts of partying in YA contemporaries is RIDICULOUS. And the way the authors write the teenagers are really unrealistic too! Also, I’m not sure if this is different at other schools since I’m at an IB charter school, but I don’t think bullying can be THAT insane??? I mean, of course there are always scenarios in books that match real life, but not EVERY school has a REALLY MEAN BULLY who hates everyone. (At least that’s what I think lol.) Love this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh wow I assumed you were in high school!!
      And yeah I feel like the bullying is much more subtle irl than the authors actually write about in books. Like a lot of the time being ignored/passive aggressive comments do more damage than actually beating someone up in the hallway.
      I hate it when the whole thing centers around partying and bullying and other really unrealistic things!!

      Liked by 1 person

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