Young Adult Fiction ≠ Paranormal

I used to be an avid reader of Young Adult (YA) fiction. I loved coming of age stories and authors like Melina Marchetta and Sarah Dessen and then it happened. Twilight was released and it was the best young adult vampire novel of ALL TIME! Or so all the hype at the time of its release would have you believe. I decided to see what all this was about and borrowed it from the library, only to find it was poorly written (“I looked into his onyx eyes!” x 50 million) and redefined what vampires were in a way I didn’t agree with and at the same time romanticised them. I didn’t have a problem when Buffy did this (for the most part) but then Joss Whedon never made his vampires sparkle.

To me this is the turning point for YA fiction from something people could relate to into poorly written fiction with teenaged characters that sound nothing like teenagers and with added guardian angels, ghosts (friendly, lovely soul mate types obviously), vampires and werewolves. It essentially turned the genre upsidedown, shook it a few times, wiped its memory and let it forget that it used to be good.

A selection of YA novels I'm happy to own! - Let me know if you want to know the titles.
A selection of YA novels I’m happy to own! – Let me know if you want to know the titles.

For a while I thought that I might have just grown out of the genre. As someone in her early 30’s I’m not exactly the target audience and maybe it just isn’t for me any more. So for a while I tried other genres to see if maybe I was into just ‘fiction’ now as opposed to ‘Young Adult Fiction’ but I didn’t really like that either. I didn’t care for ‘chick lit’ about recent divorcees with scummy ex-husbands, who think they’ll never love again until some new guy who they hate but then love comes along. I didn’t care for hardcore scifi or fantasy, romance or historical fiction. I mostly just wanted my YA back.

I started carefully picking books, checking reviews and seeing what else the author wrote in hopes of finding good books and I started to. I have read some great YA fiction in the last year or so but then it happened.. I read “18 Things” (I considered not linking it because I don’t recommend it to anyone) which claims to just be a book about a girl who helplessly watched her best friend die and, after a suicide attempt, her therapist gives her a project of creating a list of 18 things to do before her 18th birthday. It was a good idea but, little did I know, the author referred to herself as a paranormal YA fiction writer and I was in for the worst paranormal fiction twist I’ve ever read. It wasn’t just bad, it was terrible!

It made me remember my frustration and rage over my genre being taken over by  sub par authors. Maybe one day we’ll live in a time when YA fiction isn’t thought of as a joke and the excellent authors will come out and shine and excite us with their stories once more.

Until then, I’d love to hear everyones recommendations for books, I’m not against ALL books that have supernatural or paranormal elements as long as they’re well written.

8 thoughts on “Young Adult Fiction ≠ Paranormal

  1. I am not that much into supernatural or paranormal. I much prefer to read things that are slices of life and portrayed realistically. The premise of such story would have to be REALLY good for me to like it. Even fantasies and sci-fi can be a hit or a miss for me.

    I don’t go near chick literatures. Just reading some of the plot synopsis turns me off X_X;;; But I can see why they appeal to some people — just not for me!

    For YAs, I recommend the following:

    1) Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld (Alternate history? Yes, please!!!)
    2) Legend trilogy by Marie Lu (This book gave me a huge epiphany that was just mind-blowing.)
    3) Percy Jackson and the Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan (Greek and Roman myths meet modern world!)
    4) The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins (The last book wasn’t great, but I really adore the first two.)
    5) The Giver by Lois Lowry (the YA dystopic novel that started it all — at least for me.)

    1. Thanks for the suggestions Tara I’ll definitely give them a look. I’m not usually a series person so maybe these suggestions will change my mind.

  2. The Twilight hype was the one of the most annoying trends I’ve witnessed. I have no hate for the story or author, it’s just that it was everywhere. It was the topic at school and then you see it everywhere on the internet during its peak. I have seen only the first two movies and not even read the books.

    I’m not an avid reader of novels so I don’t have any recommendations. Right now my tastes go around the literature classics aside from my academic books in university. Good luck on the book search!

  3. Never… ever… mention… Twilight… again… LOL. Even up to now, I still don’t understand the fascination of that horrid series, I mean even my cousin (in her 40s who tried to get me to reading it because she was so into it) and my mom loved the series. I grew up fearing that vampires were real (thanks to the adults who constantly scared us children with these horrific vampire stories just for us to behave) and have always stuck to me that vampires kill humans for their blood, not fall in love, get married, have sex, etc. etc. I write fanfiction myself, and my first few were written poorly, and the Twilight series are good examples of “poor fanfiction.” *ahem* Anyway. ^_^

    If we’re talking about YA books, you can’t really beat the classics IMO (ie. Lord of the Rings seres, Narnia, books written by Katherine Paterson and Madeleine L’Engle, those fun detective stories like Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, etc.) I even tried writing one of my own and until now I’m still stuck at chapter one LOL. Sadly they’re not that easy to write, and I’m just talking about the plot by itself (because seriously, you may never know what the youth masses are into right now…).

    Veronica Roth’s Divergent Trilogy is pretty good. It’s got that similar dystopian feel as The Hunger Games trilogy, but still a good series, if you’re into that genre. (I’m not a huge dystopian fan, but I’m willing to read when recommended)

  4. Hahahahahah. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t laugh. I am laughing at the giant bubble that it created and when it burst, it imploded and took everything with it. Hopefully in the coming years things will start to change and that there might be a higher level or ‘popular’ YA fiction released again. Not ones that are kind of like fan fiction and just makes you so confused on how they were published and HOW they can become bestsellers. Whaaaaat.

    Shamefully… I have read many YA books that I didn’t like, but read them anyway. I am trying to read things I want too, instead of what is really popular, unless it has a good concept…..

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