I have a confession . . . I don’t like reading Young Adult novels. (Gasp!) I know. I know. How dare I say this when I, myself am a writer for the young adult genre. Isn’t this contradictory? Why would you say such a thing?
Well, first and for most, let me clarify that it isn’t that I don’t like ALL young adult novels, just pretty much the ones I’ve read so far (there could be some good ones out there, I’m sure). And without naming the books I’ve read (or currently reading), I will just say, for the love of Pete, make the characters interesting! Make me love them! Make me care about them! I’m currently in the process of reading two YA novels and I’m struggling, peeps. It’s more a chore than a joy to read them. I don’t care about these characters at ALL! I don’t care that the girl next door is a witch or that the sun has disappeared leaving a gray ceiling above. I just don’t care.
But I should, right? This is MY genre.
Maybe I’m going about this whole thing the wrong way. Because in my mind, I thought teenagers were smart, capable, imaginative thinking creatures who WILL pick on the fact that the romance is lacking depth and the plot is underdeveloped. They WILL notice if your character is boring, so you better make your characters as realistic as possible. And they WILL notice when the action pace crawls. Am I giving teenagers more credit than I should? Are they NOT thinking, imaginative creatures after all? (My son is a teen and yes, he is a creature so I can safely say this).
Teens are not stupid by any means. They’re not. But some of the dribble we’re feeding them scares me. If they can’t find well-developed, completely engrossing young adult novels, they will move on to the adult market in search of it, and the adult market is a scary place (though I do know YA is progressively becoming darker and is starting to tackle some pretty hard subjects).
Now, I know I need to read more, open myself up to the world of young adult novels and become less judgmental. I have some good leads like “I Am Number Four .” I’ve been told it’s a great read from the first page. I will see (insert rubbing hands in a wicked kind of way).
Of all the YA books I’ve read so far, I can safely say I did enjoy The Hunger Games. That was well done. The pacing was great. Each chapter left me HAVING to read the next, which is a great writer’s trick. But my favorite character wasn’t Katniss (even though she is the main character). AND, I will say, I didn’t like book two or three nearly as much as I enjoyed book one.
So, if you have any suggestions for really good (I mean REALLY good) young adult reads for me, I’d love to hear about it. I’ll check it out and let you know what I think.