you know what bugs me
what really really bugs me
when i go to the book store, find a book with an interesting cover, turn it over only to find the summary say “blah blah was totally normal until he/she met blah blah blah the cool new kid in school with a terrible secret”
like can we not????
if i had a dime for every YA novel that had that as the summary or some variation of that i would own barnes and noble
cant people think of original ideas jfc or at least change the goddamn summary so its not the same every time
this brings me to another point: wHAT IS UP WITH ALL THE “ROMANCE NOVELS”??? dont get me wrong i like romance im a sucker for it but only when the book flat out says its a romance novel instead of going “blah blah blah is immediately drawn to this new girl/boy”
fuck man im all for romance being a sub plot but dont dwell on it so much unless youre writing a romantic novel
like if youre writing a paranormal novel DONT MAKE IT ABOUT ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS SURE YOU CAN HAVE THEM BUT IM SICK AND TIRED OF BOOKS AND MOVIES SAYING EVERY TEENAGER IS/WANTS TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP this doesnt necessarily make your book/movie bad it just gets kind of annoying focus on friends and family too not just boyfriends/girlfriends
and cut it out with the fucking love triangles its getting r old. the hunger games, twilight, the host, and countless others have the same fucking thing going on
“Putting pretty white girls on all your book covers is the book equivalent of what all our fashion magazines do. An idealization of beauty that is unrealistic and dangerous to our youth. And it isn't the right thing to do. Seeing a minority grace the cover of a YA book is like spotting the Lochness monster, you wonder if you've truly seen it and if you'll ever see it again. How sad is that? To say that only pretty white girls can sell YA books is not a business model that publishers should approve of. And it's not true. We need look no further than the gender neutral and iconic covers for the Hunger Games and Twilight series to see the truth.”—Ellen Oh
“I picked up one of the books and flipped through it. Don't get me wrong, I like reading. But some books should come with warning labels: Caution: contains characters and plots guaranteed to induce sleepiness. Do not attempt to operate heavy machinery after ingesting more than one chapter. Has been known to cause blindness, seizures and a terminal loathing of literature. Should only be taken under the supervision of a highly trained English teacher. Preferably one who grades on the curve.”—Laurie Halse Anderson; Twisted
“Reducing an entire genre to one person's books as a source of comparison is limiting and reductive of the nuances, the depth, and the range of voices that exist within it. Believe it or not, John Green is not the be all, end all of contemporary realistic YA fiction. Many amazing authors came before him and wrote with goals to portray real characters in real world situations -- Laurie Halse Anderson, Judy Blume, SE Hinton, Robert Lipsythe, Paul Zindel, Robert Cormier -- and many amazing authors came after him and will continue to come after him. Yes, he has spent a long time on the NYT List. Yes, he's achieved a lot for having such a young career. Yes, he's easily recognized as one of the great YA authors. Yes, he's done a lot for the YA community. But, he's one person who has written just a few books. He is not the definition of a genre, nor is he the definition of YA.”—Kelly Jensen, “The Reductive Approach to YA” in response to adult non-fiction writer A.J. Jacobs reviewing the Andrew Smith’s young adult novel Winger by coining the term “GreenLit.” (Good one, New York Times.)
Here’s the thing: the discussion that should be happening in regards to this idea of “GreenLit” and the ways in which it’s unhelpful to talking about young adult literature isn’t about whether or not you like John Green and/or his books and/or Nerdfighteria.
It’s about whether or not you value the variety and complexity and depth and diversity and breadth of talent that’s present in young adult literature as a genre, and contemporary young adult literature as a sub-genre. It’s about respecting the accomplishments of authors individually, and not just because they can be lumped into some vague, specious new sub-genre. And it’s about appreciating that even if you (or your kids or your students or your patrons) read and re-read John Green’s books however many times a year, when the time comes to want something new and different and also very good, those books will be there, also important and also cherished, and you will have the right to read them without someone saying that, “Oh, I can’t believe you went from John Green to THAT.”
Also, as Kelly rightly notes, J.D. Salinger did not write YA lit. Get off my lawn, NY Times.
“Being treated like possessions in our common history is true for women; it's true for people of color, and it's true for LGBTQ people. Our society can't bury us under the achievements of straight white men, though, because we are too much a part of history. We need to include ourselves in mainstream fiction and in speculative fiction, because we have always been here, all of us, all of us holding different, important roles. Don't let them ignore us anymore.”—Tamora Pierce, “Because History Is NOT All SWM”
WHY YOU SHOULD READ "CODE NAME VERITY:" A LIST
I told bookclub I would make a list, so why not make it now, when I am hysterical from lack of sleep because I stayed up rereading Elizabeth Wein’s incredible book from midnight until 5am?
- This is a book about two young women who are brave and smart and who love each other and who love their people and who risk everything to fight the Nazis.
- This is a book about bravery in the face of terror, but it’s not at all stolid and it’s not just solid, it’s also really fucking smart.
- Like, seriously. This book is not going to let you off easy, ever. It’s probably smarter than you. It’s definitely smarter than me.
- Have I mentioned I love unreliable narrators?
- ROMANTIC FRIENDSHIPS 101: lists this book should be on.
- It’s also really fucking funny sometimes. Yes, this novel is the confession of a British spy captured by the Gestapo in occupied France. But dang does she have a biting sense of humor.
- This is a book conscious of class issues. It addresses them head-on. I’m not British and I definitely don’t know enough about the British class system before and during WWII to say whether its commentary is correct or incisive enough - but I will say that I was impressed with its baldness about how the system operates. “Maddie was trained to react positively to orders from people in authority.” Yeah, that. In a contemporary and widely recced YA novel.
- THIS BOOK DOES NOT TALK DOWN TO ITS AUDIENCE EVER. Much like The Book Thief, to which it’s constantly compared, its explicit dealing with desperate subjects (and its great writing!) could have gotten it shelved in the adult lit section instead of YA. But it’s been written and marketed as YA, and I’m so fiercely glad of that, because teenagers face the horrible things talked about in the book, and they deserve an author who won’t sugar coat or pretend they don’t. So, trigger warning: this book talks about torture. It alludes to sexualized torture. It alludes to suicide. There’s non-consensual groping, and the very present threat of rape. This is a story about a spy held in enemy territory by secret police who are trying to extract information from her. It’s really fucking terrifying, and the book never shies away from that. It is also very respectful of its subject, painfully accurate, and not voyeuristic.
- Plus, it’s nuanced. How often do we get narratives that give us the grays we need and want? Welp, start here.
- It never pretends there are only British or American or white male resistance fighters or resistance leaders. This is a book that’s smart about how oppression works. “It’s a white man’s world:” that’s going to get said, but not just for the benefit of a WASP woman.
- NO BUT HONESTLY THESE CHARACTERS ARE SO SPLENDID AND CLEVER AND WELL-ROUNDED AND I CRIED NINE TIMES ON REREADING THIS BOOK AND I JUST CAN’T WITH THESE FEELINGS????????
- The revolution is an act of love. This story lives and breathes and deeply, deeply understands that.