The Redundancy of YA Lit

December 15, 2016

The young adult genre of literature is growing. According to The Atlantic, 3,000 young adult novels were published in 1997. In twelve years, that number grew to 30,000. In 2009, young adult novels exceeded three billion dollars in total sales. It’s no secret that young adult fiction is becoming more and more prominent in our libraries, but is it really a good thing? For the most part, I’d say no.

When I think of young adult fiction, my mind immediately goes to every cliche in the book (no pun intended). The main character who doesn’t think highly of themselves is thrown into a challenging and/or dangerous conflict against their will. Along the way, a passive-aggressive, ab-ridden man becomes the love interest. (Think Four from “Divergent.”) Or perhaps the protagonist will fall in love with an overly sexualized woman, depending. If you really want to spice things up, how about adding a love triangle? Oh, and the main character should never stop whining. (Even if they have a good reason to whine, I still don’t want to read that for several hundred pages.)

I am well aware of the fact that not all young adult literature falls under that umbrella, but the sad reality is that most of it does. With money making titles such as “The Hunger Games,” “Twilight,” and “Divergent,” it’s only natural that other authors would jump on the bandwagon. A lot of their writing is to make money, after all. This has led to the majority of young adult fiction being unoriginal and using recycled plotlines.

This reality makes me sad, because the young adult genre has potential. The demographic is one that could be open to many new, experimental, or even controversial topics. However, the authors of this genre are afraid to step out of the “comfort zone” because they need to make a profit. I think if great authors took that step, the young adult genre would be much better and no longer associated with the mess of a genre we have now.

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