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-- Rhi


4.17.2009

The Trouble With Reading YA Fiction

So this week I'm working on a YA title I got through Amazon.com's Vine program. Yes, I too was annoyed with the "glitch" debacle over there this week but have chosen not to sit and rant over it because let's face it... they're not gonna listen to me! But back to the issue at hand...

I love YA fiction. I like reading it and wondering what my teen self would have thought of it. I like remembering all the silly things I thought were so important back then and enjoying the nostalgia of a very different phase of life. So why is it that when I read YA fiction lately, I find myself getting reeeeally annoyed with certain aspects of the content?

The book I am currently working on is a story about a teenaged girl who has recently moved and is finding out she's psychic. As she's telling her story she pulls one of my #1 pet peeves over and over—brand name dropping. I could care less what brand of jeans she's wearing or where she bought her comforter. But what really bothers me with the brand dropping thing is how badly it dates a book. In five years when these brands are no longer trendy this books shelf life will expire. Even when I was a teen I didn't like reading anything where brand dropping occured. Maybe the new generation of YAs like it but is it really necessary?

While that issue annoys me, what's really personally frustrating me is that this book is marketed as a 12&up title. Why? Because already I've seen the words 'WTF?' and 'effing' as well as a few uses of the word 'shit' and the phrase 'Friggin' A'! Now, don't get me wrong... I have a foul mouth. I don't mind cursing by any means. But if I were to hand this book to a 12 year old... I would feel like a bit of a corrupting force. Story wise this one could be entertaining to a YA that age but is that kind of cursing (cursing we don't even see on primetime television) really needed? Some would argue that kids talk like that at the protagonist's age anyway and yes that's very true... but this book could easily have been written in such a way that those type of words/phrases could be worked around or the publisher could have made the age 14&up.

When did I go and let my inner mommy start looking at what I read? LOL Ah, well.

I'm off to try and catch my dishes up so I have some reading time. Have a terrific weekend everyone!
-- Rhi

2 comments:

JenB said...

I have a hard time with YA. Partly because I get frustrated with teenagers and partly because I can't get over how much things have changed in the ten years since I graduated high school.

I read Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead a few weeks ago and was shocked at some of the swearing in it. And the heroine even ends up naked and making out with a guy. I feel so old!

Rhi said...

LOL maybe that's it Jen... maybe I'm finally old enough to feel like high school was *that* long ago. It probably doesn't help that I realized my son is just five years from starting HS.

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