Bye Bye YA

by - 12:00 PM

When I discovered Young Adult books, I was 12 years old and YA was still new and original. The Potterheads still ruled the fandom world and Percy Jackson and The Hunger Games took the market by storm. Okay, it was also the start of the Twilight era, but back then vampires and dystopian fiction were still original
A little over six years down the road all YA seems the same. Maybe it's just me: I'm 19 and I've seen all the big trends come and go. I'm not as easily impressed anymore  as I was when the YA world was still new to me. But deep down, I know it's not me. It's the whole genre.

There's a simple recipe for writing a best-seliing YA book these days: We start out with a strong female main character who's 16 years old. She is very special, a special little snow flake, but she doesn't realize it. Of course she'll have to save the world.
Now we need two love interests. Not just one, that's boring. Every best-selling YA needs a love triangle. These two guys must adore our strong and special female lead and will follow her everywhere like orphaned puppies. Of course they think our beloved main character is absolutely perfect in everything she does.
So we've got our characters, now we need a plot. Thinking of a more or less original plot is too much effort. Why do that anyway if you can recycle a plot? If you want to write dystopian, you can recycle The Hunger Games, if you're writing romance Twilight will help you out. The closest you'll get to finding originality is writing a ripoff from a ripoff.
While you're writing you have to keep in mind that things happen for no reason at all.Characters don't need any motivation or background. The principle of 'show, don't tell' is a crazy idea you'll have to get rid of as soon as possible.
That's how succesful YA is written these days. Well, at least 95% of it. I am too old to stalk the bookstores, hoping to find a book from those other 5%

Okay, I did read some amazing YA a few months ago (you can read the review here). But I almost wanted to slam the door to the YA fangirl part of my life shut, when I thought about what every aspiring author says at least once in their lives:

Source
Without realizing it, that''s exactly what I was doing with A Vampire's Mistake. It ticked literally none of the boxes I listed above.
Strong female lead: Nope, main character is a dude.
MC has to save the world: Nope, he's too lazy for that. Besides, he's a bit of an ass.
Two love interests: Nope, not even one.
Stolen plot: If this has been done before you could say I stole the plot, but as far as I know it's original.
Things happen for no reason at all: Nope, there's a problem causing another problem which causes a huge conflict. I put a lot of effort into making things logical and scientifically correct.
I'm doing the best I can for this story, but when it comes to reading YA... I think I've moved past the cliche-filled drivel phase we all seem to be going through.

Stay Awesome!

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16 Fellow Ramblers

  1. I used to be really into YA (before it was cool :P), but I think it's become so mainstream, mass-produced and written to tick boxes that it doesn't have a meaning any more. It used to be about breaking boundaries or making a statement, but I think YA has become a 'cool' thing now and sadly a lot of the books I see are very shallow and have no purpose other than capitalizing on the terrible romance market. I feel sorry for good writers trying to publish serious books for teens, but can't find publishers because they don't fit the trends..

    Seriously, if I see 'angels', 'love triangle (usually involving a green-eyed guy)', 'the only one who can save the day' or 'vampires' on a book's blurb, I just put it back on the shelf (I could make an exception for The Vampire's Mistake!).

    The only good thing is that more young teenagers are reading.. When I was 13 or 14 I was the only freak I knew who read books instead of going out doing something social, but at least now I see more kids that age reading popular YA books. They might be terrible, unrealistic and predictable, but at least they're reading something, and might become life-long readers.

    Also, I see that you said you were the wise old age of 19 now.. Was it your birthday? If so, I hope you had a good one :)

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    1. I used to be into YA before it was cool too *hipster high five*. I like how it used to be an eye-opener, how it made teenagers think about the world we're living in, but in a way that they could fully understand what and author was trying to say. It was aimed at teens without making them feel stupid - if anything it made them feel more mature.
      I'm afraid a lot of good writers won't make the cut because they're writing good books that don't tick all the boxes.

      I've done the same thing for years, putting books back on the shelf if I read words such as love triangle, especially if I saw that it was about vampires. Mostly because I felt like all those books were ruining vampires...

      Yeah, I turned 19 a little over a month ago. I feel so old looking at blogs on TBC now XD

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  2. Never been a big YA fan neither have I read many YA.Perks of being a Wallflower is awesome but I liked the movie more than the book itself.Then there's Hunger Games.I don't count HP as YA.Twilight is absolute shit and insufferable I read about 50 pages before deleting the pdf.Divergent and Shailene Woodley piss me off to extreme ends.John Green is just too mainstream not my taste :P
    I'd rather read a bad story from Sidney Sheldon than any YA :P

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    1. I don't know who Sidney Sheldon is :P My dad probably does, he seems to know every author I don't know :P HP doesn't count as YA because it was meant for ten-year-olds. We're just part of the group of crazy people who keep falling in love with those books even though we're not 10 anymore. I read Twilight and literally fell asleep while reading it. I woke up when the book landed on my face (I'd been lying on my back). I somehow read all those books except the last one.
      Don't talk about Divergent, please. Still makes me sad to think of how many tacos I could have bought with the money I spent on those books...

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  3. I tried writing for myself too- I borrowed an entire world but used my own characters. So basically, there were these twins where the girl was super outgoing and the boy was a bit disabled and withdrawn and there was supposed to be a prophecy where one of them was going to change the world. The parents knew it was going to be one of them so they'd push the girl to become stronger and all three of them would shelter the boy but then it turned out that the boy was supposed to be the chosen one but the girl was like, no way, I'll do it for him, and she tries really hard but ends up failing (I liked her too much, I ended up not letting her die) and then the boy is forced into a position he never wanted to be in and then I got a bit tired of writing and didn't know what to do after that lol so I deleted everything the end \o/

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    1. Why did you delete it? It's original and I would have loved to read it ;)

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  4. I've been reading a bunch of YA, and the stories and plots tend to get VERY repetitive. Take The Selection, for example. It's one of my favorite books of all time, but the castes were clearly modeled after the districts from The Hunger Games. I'm definitely going to try to branch out into other genres this school year. Brilliant thoughts, Envy!
    ~ Sanjana
    peridotcove.blogspot.com

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    1. I've never read The Selection and even though a lot of people like it, I don't think I'll read it. Especially since you said it was modelled after the Hunger Games. I've had my fair share of stuff like that :P
      Have fun exploring different genres! I used to be a little afraid of doing that, but now I like to read as much different kind of books as I can :)

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  5. I used to be extremely into YA, but like many others have stated, it gets super repititive. There are some YA books that break the norm but those plots rarely ever happens...

    xoxo Morning

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    1. And when they do happen, everyone steals the plot and it becomes repetitive again :P

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  6. I know what you mean. YA is feeling all the same right now. Nothing has really blown me away recently.
    ~Chioma @ Blue Books and Butterflies

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    1. I can't remember the last time I was blown away by YA. It's like I've already read each and every book on the YA market in those few years since the genre became popular

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  7. I so agree with you on this! YA adult books are so repetitive and they all seem to have the same general ideas in them. So many books are modeled after similar ideas in successful YA.

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    1. It's always the same: one thing gets successful, then the market is flooded with copycats :(
      Good to hear you agree!

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  8. I agree 100%! I don't know why people have become so lazy. Probably because anything is marketable now days. It's horrible. And I've said this before but, I really love your vampire chapters so far, and they could no doubt turn out to be a great novel. :D

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    1. I hate it that everything has to be the same just so it can be sold to people who don't see the difference between five books that are basically all the same...
      If I hadn't met you, I would have given up on that story! It makes me so happy to see that you like it and sometimes it's seriously the only reason I keep writing :)

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