I Stop Reading A YA Book When...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

  • vampires are introduced
  • actually, scratch that: generic Twilight vampires are introduced, making it clear the author is trying to cash in on Stephenie Meyer's success by writing a novel where some randomly violent bloodsuckers sparkle and have physically- and emotionally-weak teenage girls swoon for them for no apparent reason.
  • it shows any hint of becoming a novel where a beautiful, smart, popular girl seems absolutely perfect but actually it's all a show... and I lose interest. I read this plotline way too often. It has to be phenomenal for me not to dismiss it as being terribly generic.
  • anyone's problems are completely solved by falling in love with another person. I mean, are you trying to encourage teenage girls to be desperate and clingy or what?
  • there is a very clear message that the author is trying to put across to teenagers. Like "PRACTICE ABSTINENCE" (I am already, damn it) or "DON'T DRINK" (ditto). You can write theme novels. But they have to be great novels in their own right, not just a vehicle for a moral.
  • someone's eyes are referred to as 'orbs'. The word 'eyes' works fine. Don't make me think you're talking about a wizard in Middle Earth when you're just describing someone's face.
  • any girl launches into a description of how thin, tall and good-looking her best friend is. Usually these sorts of descriptions add nothing to the story or character development. They just frustrate me. I hear enough of this in real life.
  • a sexy, randomly violent bad-boy character is introduced. People like this in real life wind up in juvenile detention before they finish school. They aren't desirable, they're unstable. I don't like them in books either. Random violence = not on.
  • a brooding, mysterious, emo boy is introduced. Girl instantaneously falls for this character for no apparent reason.
  • there is a romance between a girl who is sixteen and a guy who is some indeterminable age over twenty-five. This is one million shades of wrong. In real life, this is illegal. And in books for teenagers, rarely are there relationships where the boy is younger. (Note: Age-inappropriate crushes are mostly okay, as long as they don't go anywhere. Because if they do: I will put down the book. Be afraid.)
  • any girl bemoans her total lack of boobs. I. Just. Don't. Care. Again, I hear enough of this in real life.
  • the arty speech-without-quotation-marks thing is done. It frustrates me no end. Are you deliberately trying to confuse me, or did you not learn about talking marks in Grade Three?
  • there's some unnecessary drug reference. Personally, I'm okay with drugs in books for teenagers. I'm okay with most things in books for teenagers. It provides a good venue for teenagers to learn about stuff within context (which none of those anti-drug pamphlets offer) without having to experience something themselves. HOWEVER drug use in books for teenagers for the sake of edginess bothers me no end.
  • everyone is rich. I don't care about wealthy characters. Maybe it's an Australian thing. We always go the underdog.
  • there's a prologue offering a snippet of excitement! then 200+ pages of backstory and internal dialogue and gazing at sparkly people from afar.
  • teenage characters have sex with someone they're not in a relationship with (yes, I shun you casual hooker-uppers) and it's completely unnecessary to the plot and character development. It's like the author's gone, Hey! Casual teenage sex! That'll make my novel sell for it's EDGINESS. Ooh, edgy. Yeah. And everyone can take LSD and not use contraception and there will be absolutely no consequences.
  • teenage characters hate their family. I can't relate to this at all. That's just me, because my family is awesome (this is bad, though, because all of my friends like my parents more than they like me).
  • I could go on for some time. This post, distilled: unnecessary drugs, sex, bad boys, age differences, vampires and sparkles make me put down a teen book.
What makes you stop reading a YA novel?
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