Have you caught up? Good. Now we may begin.
There has been swirls of debate concerning the writing ability of Young Adult Fiction authors and whether or not many of them would have been as successful if Suzanne Collins had not opened the floodgates with the Hunger Games - or that’s just what I’ve been complaining about.
Also, the latest market research suggests that YA is being read more by adults (18+) than children or teenagers. And this is where I usher in my opinion of why that is.
These Are Not Experienced Readers
When a book erupts via that potent recipe of stellar marketing and word-of-mouth, it attracts thousands, if not millions, of readers who have never before partaken in certain genres, or read at all.
And much like a novice chess player who foolishly plans only one step ahead, these rookie readers are unaware of the elements of style and storytelling. They do not have a mental library of indexed tales from which to reference; therefore, they unabashedly swallow these YA stories whole – cliched characters, plot holes, and all.
This isn’t to say that the stories are not entertaining or contain redeeming values. But I have heard countless people defend a piece of YA despite never having read much else, and I wouldn’t tell a hooker how to do her job just because I own a pair of fishnets and stilettos.
Easy On The Eyes
Humans don’t go out of their way to make their lives more difficult – we invent machines, strategies, and
religions in an effort to play the game of life on the easiest setting.
The same applies to reading, especially when the aforementioned rookie readers are taking to the bookshelves. Few of these greenhorns peruse the aisles of Barnes & Noble searching for Infinite Jest; rather, they are more like permanent summer reading lists, light and fluffy.
YA provides that combination of quick reading and adequate entertainment, like that newspaper you find on the train during your commute back home. The majority of the words won’t challenge your vocabulary, the stories won’t force you to question the moral fiber of humanity, and the characters have all been introduced before, just the names change.
This isn’t a fresh concept, nor is it held to only literature; in fact, the phrase is most prevalent in the videogame and movie industry. But I believe it has grown considerably with regards to YA.
A fanboy is someone who is blindly devoted to a cause, defending it with a dogmatic fervor, regardless of logic. It’s much like trying to change someone’s political opinion – not going to happen.
YA tends to have a plethora of fanboys who bleed the words of their favorite books, with which there is nothing wrong. Yet fanboys refuse to examine any sort of flaw within their church, whipping up an air of elitism among them.
And people find comfort in numbers, comfort in reading the hottest YA because they can now be part of the in-crowd, the fanboys.
Those three reasons are the most prevalent in my mind – there may be more and the aforementioned may just suck – but I also want to point out that I am not entirely against YA, although I realize it comes across like that.
I believe it is tremendous that millions of people are reading who have never read before.
That children are swallowing entire tomes of works like Harry Potter and Divergent.
That the door has been opened for writers to make millions of dollars on that teaspoon idea in their mind that they poured out onto paper.
I think that my dislike for YA is seeded in a very familiar and relatable concept:
Literature was a band that I discovered in a hole in the wall bar on a Tuesday night. I bought all of their albums from the back of their trunk, listened to them when no one else was around, and was smug in telling people that they didn’t “know what real music was” because they didn’t listen to Literature.
But now Literature has hit it big.
Everyone wants a piece of the band that I have loved before anybody knew they existed. Literature’s sound has been distorted, manipulated and changed by the deepest pockets. The new fans believe that this has always been Literature’s sound, but they don’t know any better.
They don’t know about those songs they used to play on Tuesday nights at the hole in the wall bar.
Those songs that only I used to know.