Ok so I have been reading a lot lately, just as much as I’ve been writing as I do believe a good writer most learn to read first. Sure we all know to read, one might say, but do we really read the meanings encoded in the different YA literatures or do we consume paragraphs without actually perceiving the message?
During summer I devoted to Young Adult books; Maggie Stiefvater’s trilogy The Wolves of Mercy Falls (Shiver, Linger, & Forever) – Aprilynne Pike’s trilogy (Wings, Spells, & Illusions) – Debut writer Gabrielle Blue and Children of the Lost Moon – Michelle Brooks Bone Dressing, which I am still reading, and The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephanie Meyer (I have previously read all twilight books*, obviously) * Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, & Breaking Dawn. Oh note to self: still waiting to get my hands on Midnight Sun (Edwards version of Twilight)
Anyway so we could say I have a general knowledge of the YA genre (but by all means I am not an expert) now the point I want to discuss is not the literature value of any of this books neither is the writing style or structure, but the content. There are some serious repetition on many of this books and I am wondering why?
All the books have been written by female authors, all have described a representation of the perfect young man with high values and morale, and with a lack of interest in sex at first hand. A modern hero who is not afraid of showing his weak side and a man that above all loves his female companion to the extreme of making you feel sick at times with an overdose of sweetness. All of these men make sacrifices. All show not only love but devotion. And ALL have paranormal “powers” (except Pike’s trilogy which I will discuss separately) we have vampires, werewolves, shifters, fairies, and perhaps ghosts (I said am not done with Bone Dressing) what does this tell us about women of the 21st century? All female main characters are troubled young women, with a serious lack of parental guidance, who in general dislike high school and don’t “fit” in the normal social structure of their stories; they are loners, who like to pretend to be strong yet they need constant attention from their prince charming.
So what’s going on here? What has feminism done to us? On a quest to be equal, strong, independent women who can deal with anything its thrown at her direction, including supernatural beings; yet with the need of constant attention, dedication and gratification from men? are we troubled women? sure we don’t all come from broken homes without rules, sure we all don’t want to rip men clothes off at first sight. Or do we? Are we reflecting?
The similarities within the books are stunning. Each one of the books is unique in its own way, yet I can see the same pattern repeat itself as if girls need reinforcement of learnt behaviours – years ago women use to want “Bad Boys” today we want supernatural prince charmings?. So if these stories are what our young adults are reading what shall we expect to see in ten years time in terms of both literature and human interaction/relationships?
I leave you to ponder on that knowledge.
Now, Pike’s trilogy about fairies is interesting. The girl is the one with the supernatural powers, not the young man. The girl has a stable human loving family and a supernatural extended family, and although in a clumsy way, she does fit right into the social structure of high school. Pike has broken the mould and I take my hat off to her. Her trilogy is refreshing and not as dark as the other stories, perhaps because of the nature of fairies. I take my hat off to her. Now my question is, are young adults perceiving the difference and loving her trilogy as well? Or are they rejecting it because it breaks all rules and pathologies offered on many other books from the same genre?
I shall leave that point also open for discussion.
To all my fellow writers and critics, happy writing!