Soooo I will attempt to keep this from being a rant and raver over the state of the Young Adult novel market, so here it goes...
Since I can remember I have always loved reading and find pure joy and elation at being able to lift words from a book and see it play out in my imagination, bringing the characters to life and come to care for them through the pages. Some of my earliest memories are of Biff and Chip (primary school books that I'm sure some of you must have heard of ;) ) Kipper, The Worst Witch series and lots more.
Then Harry Potter exploded into my world and I immersed myself in the books! Hogwarts was so very real and in my heart of hearts I'm damn sure it exists really...right?!
Anyway I was thrilled when the films came out and as much as I enjoyed them, the books are far superior and I still re-read them annually. Fantastical, fresh, fun and ultimately believable. I loved each and every one of those characters, well with the exception of most of the Slytherin population anyway ;) Snape rules.
As I've got older I finally found books that indulged my love of history and fiction and one of my favourite authors for this genre has to be Phillippa Gregory. She is a fellow historian and uses facts and mythology to bring the stories to life which is fantastic! But every so often I like to dip back into the YA genre, just to see what is feeding the teenage population these days.
Here is the problem and hence why I am so despairing...today I found a list of YA novels being released this year and upon reading the blurbs my heart sank. There are almost no original ideas being brought forward, just the same old re-hash of pitiful girls going after the bad boys, a struggle between chasing the hot guy or saving the world, or the plain old love triangle - all revolve around tragic love. Now, I have no problem with the love element but when it becomes so prominent as to blur the real storyline then it is a pain.
Take for instance the Twilight Saga. I remember when it first arrived in the UK, pretty sure I was one of the first to read it in my school (yeah still proud of finding it first!) and loved the idea of it. It was new, a fresh spin on an old love story - Dracula meets Romeo and Juliet - it worked and sparked another phenomenon with teenage girls across the globe. Fair enough. But then there were The Vampire Diaries and True Blood and so many copycats and very quickly it became stale. A pattern is very definitely emerging in the genre of YA lit...or perhaps I'm not looking hard enough?
The Hunger Games is another example, the series is brilliant but was followed by Divergent which in comparison is another dystopian novel set in the future when the world has fallen into separate factions. Fine. But the writing is pretty awful, the characters are flat and I got half way through it realising that I wouldn't be investing in the remaining books. I finished it, I always try to stick at a book no matter how annoying it may be, just in case it contains a hidden surprise to save its face. No surprises here, it just didn't do it for me.
So back to this list...nothing on it grabbed my attention, inspired me or sparked my imagination. I rolled my eyes and sighed in exasperation that this was all that was on offer to the next generation of readers. Perhaps I have grown out of the YA genre altogether and simply won't be able to go back to a simpler view point that seems driven almost completely by hormonal lust? Heck I'll hold my hands up now and say I fell for Mr Cullen pretty hard, but how many times can teenage girls be expected to fall over at the next hot guy that sparkles??? There has got to be more substance to these books surely? Maybe I'm too fussy. I know that not every novel needs to be heavy going philosophical examination of the human condition - it would suck the fun out of life having that beaten over anyone's head, but come on people, enough of the silly love triangles. Give me some meat, some real conflict! Please?
Heh, I'll just have to write it myself? ;)