Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Putting Down the Book

What has happened to Young Adult literature?

The last time I was at the library, I decided to browse through the Teen section. Ok, I usually browse the Teen section because I love YA novels, but I usually pick something from an author I'm familiar with, an author I love. This time, feeling daring, I pulled two random books off the shelf that I thought sounded good and checked them out.

The first book I made to maybe chapter five or six before I put it down. The other I read over halfway, drawn in by the intriguing plot, before I forced myself to toss it aside.

It wasn't that the books weren't well-written. They had well-paced plots, great characterization, and beautiful imagery.

They were also full of drugs, sex, and alcohol.

Now, my problem is not the simple fact that drugs, sex, and alcohol played a role in these books. I am not suggesting that YA books should be full of puppies and frills and never touch on real-life issues. I have read lots of books containing those issues, and they were written tastefully, in a non-condoning way, so that when I finished reading I felt like the book was a friend.

My problem is that these books contained trash just for the sake of trash. It did nothing to further the plot or develop a character. Its entire purpose was just to draw the reader in. There was no tasteful "closing of the door."

My problem is that the authors not only seemed to condone the moral-less behavior of their characters, but they practically had me convinced that all teenagers behave this way.
Maybe I was a sheltered teenager, but I don't think booze-filled parties and rendezvous in dark hotel rooms with complete strangers are a normal part of teenage life. I don't think all teenagers are dark, degenerate beings who act only for their own selfish reasons, completely without morals.

So why do some YA authors cater to them like they are?

Why are books like this even being written? Do YA authors really think a teenager isn't going to pick up a book unless it's full of sex and drugs? Has our opinion of teenagers really swung that low?

Maybe I just picked the wrong books off the shelf. I know good, quality YA literature still exists. It just makes me sad to see YA authors, or any author, for that matter, falling into the trap that trash is the only thing that draws people to read a book. But, on the other hand, I guess sex does sell, and maybe, for some people, that is the only thing that draws them to read a book.

But it made me close a book. Two books. Frustrated, disgusted, and disappointed.

The Brown-Eyed Girl


Kolena locksa said...

There's plenty of quality YA literature out the sweet valley series! Hahaha! Just kidding. :P

Good for you in putting the books down. I hate to admit but I probably would have skipped a few pages and gone on to finish the book. Especially if the plot was good.

Rachel K said...

I tried to do that. But it didn't work.