"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Monday, August 26, 2013

My response to a blogger's question

I few weeks ago I read a blog post by Lisa Parkin titled: Why We'd Be Screwed if Young Adults Books Were Real. In the post Ms. Parkin identified four reasons we'd be screwed if YA lit were real and then gave examples of books that fit her rationale. She ended the piece with this question:

If YA fantasy were real, what would you be worried about?

I decided to answer her question here but will amend the question to address YA Lit in general, not just fantasy lit.

1. Where are the adults, especially the parents, that should be looking out for their teens and children? This has long been a gripe of mine about YA lit...absent or MIA parents. Kids would have to run the world if there were no adults but there are adults in the real world, so why act like they don't exist? This really worries me that kids think they have to solve all their own problems.

Books that have good parent/adult role models:
--The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
--Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina
--Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (Park's parents, not Eleanor's)

2. Why are there so many alcoholic or drug addicted parents? Along the line of my first worry, if there are parents in the books these parents are really messed up, forcing the kids to behave like almost super humans to survive. Kids need to know that there is another side to life where adults behave like adults and are willing to provide a stable environment to grow up in.

Books I like even though the parent is alcoholic/drug addicted/abusive:
--Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes
--Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher
--Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick

3. The end of the world is near. Ever notice how many YA novels feature teens struggling to survive post-apocalypse. Are they trying to tell us something? The end is near? This does worry me a bit.

Good post-apocalypse YA novels:
--House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
--Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
--Maze Runner by James Dashner

4. Teens only form loving relationships in triangles. I worry that all teens think that they aren't capable of making decisions about loving, stable relationships. In fact, there are so many love triangles in YA lit it is shocking if there isn't one.

YA romance stories that include a triangle (but I liked them anyway)
--The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
--The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LeBan
--Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

5. Paranormal creatures really exist.  This REALLY worries me because I get creeped out very easily and don't need to know that vampires, zombies, werewolves actually exist, although I do like the idea of fairies.

Paranormal books that passed muster:
--Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
--Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
--Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

If YA literature were real, what would you be worried about?


  1. I laughed when I got to your number 5!!

    But on a more serious note, HONESTLY what on earth is happening with YA parental roles? Seriously, I have to think REALLY hard to come up with any healthy relationships between kids and parents...and at the moment I'm only coming up with Sarah Rees Brennan's Unspoken! It really isn't representative of our world - I feel like all YA lit parents who are mentioned are only mentioned because they are BAD. And while I'll be the first to admit that there are terrible, terrible parents out there, I have a hard time connecting to some books because the kids are just bratty to their parents. And I have GREAT parents! I demand better YA lit parents!

    1. I know. It reminds me of Charlie Brown specials on TV where the adults are "there" but all you see is their legs and you can't understand them when they speak. YA lit currently is full of books with no or bad parents. That is why I was so thrilled to read The Fault in Our Stars. Both Gus and Hazel have fabulous parents who love their kids very much and take care of them.

  2. Just passing through as I sometimes do ...

    A novel protagonist has to take some kind of action (even if it's only deciding to remain paralyzed and inactive). For an action to be interesting it usually has to involve a choice (even if the choice is very lopsided, like doing something v. quitting and laying down and dying). Modern First World families don't leave very many choices to the kids, and modern First World economies don't really need people until they're well educated and about 25. So if a novel is about teenagers, your choices are:
    1) pretend their problems are really important (hence all the books about boys and clothes, or in past generations about making the team, or about fitting in to some peer group when you're socially unusual)
    2) get the parents out of the picture (dead, addicted, hopeless) so the kids have to make adult decisions about important things, or
    3) change the world so that affluent teenagers (the kind who receive books as presents and read a great deal for pleasure) are needed for something more than to fill the pre-person holding tank, which means basically
    a) a fantasy world where "real" reality revolves around teenagers, e.g. Buffy,
    b) a time in the past when people were needed at younger ages (big wars, frontiers, revolutions, etc.)
    c)a science fiction future where people need teens again in the way we did during big wars or the frontier era

    1. John Barnes?! I am not worthy! I hope you noted that I am a huge fan of Tales of the Madman Underground and mention it often here on this blog.

      Thank you for your explanation why teen novels must manufacture crises. Your explanation makes a lot of sense. I appreciate you stopping by and thanks again for inventing Karl Shoemaker. His story is just wonderful and you got the '70s just right!

  3. If faeries existed in the real world, you might not be so keen on them if they were anything like Scottish and Irish faerie lore. They are sneaky, not-very-nice folk for the most part :P


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