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Call Me Sexist, 6 Reasons I’m Still Not Reading Young Adult Fiction

I don’t want to be mean to any of you, young adult authors. I appreciate your genre for what it is, “young adult”. I am decidedly not young adult. With that said, I find it a little irritating that no matter how I present it, invariably people push the stuff down my throat. The latest in the series on my Facebook feed was the blog post:

Why Criticizing Young Adult Fiction is Sexist

The bottom line was that you are really criticizing young girls. Hmmm??? That is a new one. Now I am sexist because I don’t like your genre and I have had to create a bulwark of reasons to give to people who can’t imagine why I don’t want to read the latest in vampire shenanigans. Well, it made me reevaluate why I don’t like Young Adult (YA)  fiction and, wow…I don’t think sexist is in there.

*DISCLAIMER* Before I give you my criticisms…let me give you a disclaimer. I don’t hate all YA fiction, just most of it. In fact, today I realized that there are quite a few young adult series I read, with varying degrees of happiness about having done so. Going down that rabbit hole further, I have read YA fiction geared to boys. I like Sci-Fi fantasy. Some of the boy YA books were great despite that they were about children. It isn’t all about teenage girls.

On with it…

Why I avoid YA fiction like the plague??? (generally speaking, that is)

teen reading

  1. They are about children. Some of them are about teenagers budding to their adulthood. This is great if you are a child budding into your adulthood, or just budded.  Not only am I not interested in budding children fighting evil but I am less interested in their thoughts about their possible sexual encounters.
  2. They are geared towards children. They are written for a young audience. If not, why on earth would they be termed “Young Adult” They are written to appeal to people without foresight and perspective….young adults. I was there. I remember. I just don’t want to read a book for that younger me. I don’t relate, at all.
  3. Who are these teenagers, anyway? They are all so chaste and responsible. This doesn’t even reflect my experience when I was young.
  4. There is very little character development. This probably should have been #1. It is what separates things for me.  And…this yummy part of adult fiction, character development,  isn’t in all adult fiction, only good adult fiction. I don’t care if you are talking about boys or girls.  More YA books than not lack this essential feature I long for.
  5. Get over the double spacing. I want to ask the authors…what is your frickin motive for double spacing? Do you want the book to seem longer? Do you want kids to be able to read it easier? Well, it bugs the shit out of me. This is why. There is nothing I love more than a page, densely packed with nouns and adjectives and verbs put together in magical ways. The more on a paper, the more I may get a piece of genius on that page. It elicits good feeling to see the pages of a normal book. This double spaced garbage just looks like a high school essay.
  6. I am skeptical about books that center around vampires, angels, or witches. I don’t know, folks. It takes something pretty interesting to get me to cross those lines. I enjoy the occasional paranormal novel but it seems like so much of the YA genre is obsessed with the an odd grouping of topics that just isn’t very interesting to me.

I don’t think I have looked down upon the genre. I don’t believe I degraded the genre. These are my reasons why I don’t read YA fiction and really don’t want to. My relentless quest for the next great novel, is rarely sated at the trough of YA fiction. Sorry. I am an adult, not a sexist.

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Stephanie on September 11, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Amen! 🙂

    I was actually just discussing a YA book I read recently with a coworker… and I couldn’t put down my disappointment to anything other than the main character was a teen. I am just not all that interested in getting in the headspace of a teenage girl (with all the romantic drama) anymore.

    And I totally agree on #6 — but mostly because I did the whole vampire book thing when I was a teen (waaay before it was cool) with Anne Rice’s Vampire chronicles.

    I do occasionally read YA now, too, but usually I avoid the paranormal stuff. I am more likely to read a YA novel if it is from an author who is doing a crossover from their more adult stuff (like China Meiville or Neil Gaiman).

    • Rachael Atamian on October 6, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      Thanks for the comment! I continue to try YA…it is ubiquitous and difficult to disengage from in our culture. It is the new go to genre. I must say…I am mostly disappointed, with rare exceptions of exciting joy that this one book or another defied my prejudice.

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