No two people are not on fire

No one should have to handle YA all at once. In general, I disagree with the claim that the genre is “getting too dark”—the real world is pretty fucking dark and teenagers have to deal with that just as much as adults do, with fewer resources. But as a cataloger for a public library, I have to see (and read/edit/type) the summary of everything that comes in. And as an empath, it’s pretty hard for me when everyone’s sisters, brothers, parents, and best friends keep being murdered, raped, kidnapped, and otherwise traumatized.

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Every other book is an abusive relationship or dystopian hellscape, and in between we have bullshit too-perfect teen romances to cut the trauma with hormones and saccharine “forever love.” I’ve been thinking that I just grew out of YA, but now that I think about it, my disaffection with it began about a year or so into my career working in libraries, and maybe it’s the overexposure that did it.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Jan Hicks says:

    I think there’s something going on generally in reaction to the political times we in Europe and the US are living through. I’ve noticed it with TV shows as well. For example the second series of The Handmaid’s Tale, which I haven’t watched and, judging by reviews, am glad I chose not to. From a series based on a book with social commentary and optimism for the future embedded in the dystopia, it has seemingly become a kind of torture porn that shows women constantly striving for their existence only to be punished in increasingly violent ways. I don’t read much YA. The books I have read I chose deliberately because of their focus on strong female characters who overcome the misogyny of their culture. To me it seems that we are being fed a lie that we are getting books that are truthful and empowering, but actually their subtext is one of fear used to keep us manipulable. It is overwhelming. And, as you say, the alternative is the other extreme, unrealistic happiness that is only achievable through being in a romantic relationship. Ugh.

    Liked by 1 person

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