Bookish posts

3 Things I dislike about YA novels

3 THINGS IThe young adult genre is just getting more and more popular and I must admit it is the genre I read the most. But after reading so many YA books over the years there are a few things that I have really began to dislike.

Opposite sex best friends = instant romance

I have only ever read a handful of young adult books where there was a best friends couple of the opposite sex that had no romantic feelings at all towards each other. It has become the norm to write about protagonists who are in love with their best friend, or end up with their best friend at the end of the book. I understand the girl/boy next door theme is very very popular but this to me isn’t realistic. Best friends of the opposite sex, or same sex for that matter can just be that. Best friends.

Sex is a taboo

Depending on how old the protagonists are depends on if they are sexually active or not. I wouldn’t expect a novel with a 14 year-old or younger as the main protagonist to be sexually active, but with the UK age of sexual consent at 16 it shocks me that these young adult novels don’t even approach the subject of sex – and when they do they either brush over it and skip to the next day or treat it like a taboo making out that those girls who have had sex in high school are ‘sluts’.

I’m not saying we should start writing young adult erotica, but sex is a natural thing that we will all one day experience, and with a lot of people losing their virginity at a younger age I think it is a subject young adult authors need to approach – but in a way where it helps and gives advice instead of scaring them or pressuring them.

Always a happy ending

Happy endings are great and they can make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and for that brief moment you forget about your life and live in the moment of that novel. But that is teaching children that everything has a happy ending which is very unrealistic. Life has bad moments and sad moments.

We should include sad endings in young adult novels to teach children that yes things don’t always go according to plan but that doesn’t make it bad. You can have a sad ending where things can still be ok. A good example of this is The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – it has an ending that will make you cry your eyes out but at the same time everything is going to be ok.

I know the points I made are very stereotypical but what do you dislike about the young adult genre?


9 thoughts on “3 Things I dislike about YA novels

  1. I hate when love triangles are included in books. I find it incredibly unrealistic. Also, about sad endings, I feel like they are included in young adult fiction or at least in the genres I read. I’m not a huge contemporary reader so that might be where all the happy endings are. Great post by the way!


  2. This is an interesting read. I do see your points on a lot of them, but I think YA is doing a great job of diversifying itself at the moment and hopefully that will address the issues you have.
    Definitely agree on the happy endings though, have you read Noughts and Crosses? That was a great ending!


  3. I agree with you 100% with these, especially the best friends end up together one. That pisses me off every time I see it because it’s so unoriginal. I read a YA a few weeks back called What You Left Behind, and even though the 2 main characters weren’t best friends or anything, the girl’s best friend was still in love with her even though she was with someone else. So typical!


  4. You pointed out some really interesting themes. As much as I like reading YA there can feel so samey after a time. You’re very right about sex as a taboo as well – literature does feel quite outdated in how it writes young people now as everyone is a lot more sexually aware than they’re given credit for in YA.


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