Young Adult Novels: A Cliché?

Young Adult novels have had their fair share of slander over the years, but should a novel aimed a specific audience really be disregarded because of said audience? I’m not arguing that we should take ‘Twilight’ and put it up there with canon literature but sometimes I can’t help but get the impression there is a certain amount of snobbery associated with the genre, especially when it comes to the romances. I get the feeling the reason for this is big cooperate book stores and their obsession with for some reason placing all the books with the cheesy covers featuring beautiful swooning girls and ethereal men on the cover with some half-hearted review by Stephanie Meyer in their own little section, hereby giving the impression that all young adult literature is read by overly hormonal, fourteen year old girls. I’m talking about beautiful coming of age stories from geniuses like John Green and Steven Chbosky, Dystopia worth of George Orwell in the form Lauren Destefato and Suzanne Collins, heart breaking, moving books from Lauren Oliver. When I say YA lit I don’t mean the cliché we all so readily accept of a twelve year old girl swooning over Edward Cullen. I don’t have any problem reading canon literature, and can appreciate it as much as the next person- but I feel like the stigma given to YA can make me feel slightly inadequate for shopping in the ‘teenage’ section of Waterstone’s, because sometimes bit of teen drama is exactly what you need.  I feel like incredible authors can be disregarded for their audiences which really shouldn’t be what reading is all about. A book should be based on the words, the connection with the reader, not what genre/audience it has.

I’m not saying I don’t appreciate and read adult literature, Classics, poetry, biographies, I’m open to anything as I think most people should be, what I am saying is that yes, sometimes you want to read a book with all the complexities, that people have spent time and energy studying, that are about people with vastly complex and interesting lives who make you question the metaphorical resonance of the world around- and then sometimes you want to read a book purely for the story, for the escapism and the teen drama. The genres of fiction, and teen fiction shouldn’t be set with such a fine line. I know plenty of people who can enjoy both. So stop reading the cliché of teen lit which seems to have been constructed, because the audience shouldn’t define the book, there are a lot of really beautiful books in there which shouldn’t be over looked. So don’t pass it off because of the cliche associated with it; don’t overlook the beautiful novels hidden amongst it, because in my opinion it should be credited just as much as any other form of literature.

By Eloise Pearson

Enhanced by Zemanta

  • S.N. November 7, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    It’s not snobbery to criticise a piece of work and consider it as having less literary value than other literary works. Some books are better than others. As Terry Eagleton wrote (with inspiration from Shakespeare!) ‘Some texts are born literary, some achieve literariness, and some have literariness thrust upon them.’
    Canonical works are not considered great or ‘literary’ because they are very difficult, or very long, or very metaphorical, but purely because there is a general consensus among academics, scholars and the general public that these works are very, very good and have passed the test of time.
    I don’t believe there is a stigma attached to YA novels and I certainly don’t look down on people for reading YA fiction. I just think that they are not brilliant in comparison to other literary texts and that their intended audiences would benefit more from reading other works that are better written, have more ‘real characters’ and more credible and thought provoking stories that really make you think about the world. They also provide escapism. And plenty of drama.

    They don’t have to be ‘literary classics’. Writers such as Ian McEwan (although I’m not a huge fan I will not deny that his works, particularly his early stuff, is very, very good), Alan Hollinghurst, Zadie Smith (she’s amazing!), Martin Amis, Julian Barnes, Sebastian Faulks, Margaret Atwood, Kazuo Ishiguro, are all very recent and amazing writers, and I do wish more young people would pay attention to these authors as opposed to Stephenie Meyer or a book by a man called Stephen Chobsky that is being made into a film with Emma Watson.

    I’m someone who loves reading classics and canonical works from authors, poets and playwrights such as Keats, Shelley, Shakespeare, Arnold, Yeats, Plath, Tolstoy and many more. But yet I’ve also read Bridget Jones’ Diary, loved Michael Murpurgo’s novels and spent most of my childhood queuing outside of Waterstone’s to buy the latest Harry Potter novel. However, I certainly do not think I’m being a snob by suggesting that Middlemarch is a much better read than The Wreck of the Zanzibar.
    Having also read Stephen Chobksy’s Perks of Being a Wallflower, I can honestly say (and I’m sure a lot of people would agree with me) that you would find a better coming-of-age novel in The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. Although I’d avoid Finnegan’s Wake.

    Of course people should read whatever they want, but more people should be encouraged to read works from the literary canon as they are (for the most part) amazing.

  • SistersRed November 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    I completely agree, as a society we frown down on Teenage literature which is completely wrong. Being a teenager is a difficult time and with peer pressure now a days the idea of reading a book is seen as very ‘uncool’ and can make it difficult for young readers to find the confidence to read. The teen literature allows them to carry on their love of books that they developed as children without having to switch from Winnie the Pooh to Wuthering Heights. Teenage literature is a great way for young adults to continue reading without attempting to jump huge gaps. Someone can’t go from reading fairy tales one day to tackling deep meaning full literature, TL is the stepping stone and everyone seen in that section at Waterstones shouldn’t be passed off as some stupid child dreaming of falling in love with vampires, they should be praised for actually standing up to their peers and actually saying ‘I like to read!’.

  • Threaded commenting powered by code.


Should University Students get any financial help from the government?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...


August 2020
« May