From high school melodramas and the highs and lows of teenage friendships to the confusing maze of adolescent emotions and issues, Young Adult novels take their readers on a whirlwind of a joyride on the route of relatability or plain bittersweet nostalgia of one’s teenage years.
No matter how old we are or how much we might enjoy other miscellaneous genres of books, YA will always occupy a spot in our hearts because the best written books never fail to make their readers live through the lives of the characters themselves, while laughing, raging, and in some cases, weeping on the floor (it’s unhealthy how frequently that happens) with them.
However, all good things come with a catch, and the same goes for this genre. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Young Adult novel tropes that make most readers want to put the book down, settle ourselves comfortably in our nooks, and take our time to roll our eyes over and over and over again.
Forced Romance Backdrops
Hey, absolutely zero complaints regarding a good old teen romance that’s at once adorable and hilarious in its own way, but why introduce it in a story with little context, and in a way that makes it seem tedious and irrelevant to the key story itself?
Much as we might ship characters as we like, sometimes portraying things like friendships and family relationships between the roles in their own complicated yet endearing ways, instead of making A and B end up as the perfect highschool sweetheart couple just because they’ve been besties since before time itself and are oh-so-compatible-together, turns out to be better than the latter, doesn’t it?
Romanticism of Mental Health Issues
At present, mental health issues, especially among the young generation, are indeed a matter of contention. So it doesn’t really come as a surprise that YA novels, along with all other pop culture categories nowadays, put quite a lot of effort into normalising open discussions and appropriate acknowledgement regarding the aforementioned theme by highlighting it.
But the problem lies in the romanticism of these issues, which is downright infuriating. Quiet kids who have depression don’t always end up as revolutionary prodigies, and neither are the lifestyles of kids with anxiety and ADHD in any way cute or quirky with poetic twists. Also, PTSD can’t be cured instantly by finding love. Dear concerned authors, stop.
The LGBT+ Bait
Much as we love the representation of excellently developed LGBT+ characters in YA lit, it’s disheartening how frequently this genre is used as only a bait for consumerism. In simple words, we delightfully buy a book because it has teen queer protagonists and start reading it with great enthusiasm, but soon realise that the story itself has no intriguing progress.
Of course, poorly written plots have nothing to do with specific genres, but in this case, it almost feels as if the author wrote the novel with the mindset that the effort that went into naming the one or two main characters and entitling them with sexualities that aren’t hetero is enough to drag their novels into the NYT Bestsellers’ list with no consideration whatsoever for their substandard excuses for plots. So confusing, so disappointing.
The Divergent Woman Cliche and Toxic Female Friendships
Ever had the urge to toss a book into a bin upon coming across the female lead’s proclamations of “not being like other girls” because she either a) Hates makeup and feminine attires, and has a passionate distaste for any female who fancies any or both, or b) Is a geek and does sport and reads lots of feminist literature and disses any and every other girl who doesn’t?
Such content which portrays feminine interests as something to be ashamed of, creates a disturbing impression on younger readers. It’s not only disgustingly sexist, but also implies that women can’t have varied magnitudes. Also, what’s with the lack of realistic representations of female friendship?
Did the authors really have a choice in friends so horribly bad that it led them to believe firmly that no woman can ever be a loyal friend, and all she does is badmouth and backstab all her buddies, and on top of that, is “Oh, so dramatic”?
Though the list doesn’t end here and can be stretched to be miles longer, our love for Young Adult Literature isn’t dwindling, what with so many incredible books being introduced to the genre every other day.
As for the things we don’t like about some of them, readers should function as filters and, well, as sponges, shouldn’t they? Perhaps that was a weird metaphor.
All of Hamama’s problems smell like দারুচিনি cause she’s দ্বীপ into them 24/7.