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Viccie

Is 90% of YA Fiction really Crap?

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Apparently this really got tempers riled at the Edinburgh Internatonial Book Festival - from reading this article I can see why!  As someone who reads quite a lot of what's called YA fiction (personally I think that many of so-called YA fiction isn't just crossover, it's ageless and appeals to age 12 to 112) I thought this an interesting read, especially the links to other articles.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2016/aug/29/90-of-ya-is-crap-the-debate-that-dominated-the-edinburgh-book-festival

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I saw this article.

 

I do think that YA fiction suffers from the same publishing issues that adult fiction does: clones of successful books and overreliance on a narrow range of topics.

I go book shopping with my friends' daughters: they're now 16, 15 and 13, and they are fed up with the cliches. They liked the originals: the Hunger Games, The Fault In Your Stars - but they can see copycats a mile off. Increasingly, we think publishers seem to invest in these rather than new ideas.

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I saw this article.

 

I do think that YA fiction suffers from the same publishing issues that adult fiction does: clones of successful books and overreliance on a narrow range of topics.

I go book shopping with my friends' daughters: they're now 16, 15 and 13, and they are fed up with the cliches. They liked the originals: the Hinger Games, The Fault In Your Stars - but they can see copycats a mile off. Increasingly, we think publishers seem to invest in these rather than new ideas.

It's not just books, i have seen similarity between what you say and music so that in the music, the first few stand out and get a pretty diverse base, then come identikit acts that aren't as good.

 

90% is probably not good but then again, what is the sample you base the 90% on? As the article says this is probably the case with everything

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Also true with movies.  Less so TV shows, which is interesting.  But I quite like YA literature and am not put off by that label.

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I have un-Bowdelrised the title - people might have thought it was something worse than crap!

 

I agree with others. Quality is on a continuum and only a small portion is right up there with the best. Below that there's a lot that is good enough, and some at the bottom that is awful, derivative and boring. You can't put percentages on it because you will never agree on where the boundaries are, let alone reach consensus on whether a particular book is one side of the boundary or the other. 

 

I do know that young people tend to read more fiction than adults, so you would expect to have a lot of titles to choose from. And unlike adult fiction, the good ones tend to stay in print for a long time. 

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I bowdlerised the title because I was reprimanded not so long ago by someone a lot younger than myself for using bad language - ie crap!

 

I think that a lot of what is called YA isn't - it's multi-generational, the Hunger Games, for instance, stands up as a thriller in its own right and if the protagonists were in their late twenties rather than being 16 and 17 it would be  on the adult shelves.  Stuff like Twilight, which really is crap; is definitely YA for no sane adult would read it but that doesn't mean it's the benchmark for all YA books, no more than 50 Shades of Grey or The de Vinci Code are  representative of all best-selling adult fiction.

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Completely agree with MM, most of the fiction I watch teenagers being offered and taking out at the school library is poor copycat versions of original and good YA fiction. I suppose we could level the same accusation at most fiction these days.

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One thing that troubles me about YA (and, for that matter, children's) fiction is how it's sometimes seems practically impossible to find anything that's not do do with supernatural powers, witches, magic, and so on.  I want to stress something here:  I'm most definitely NOT a religious freak who thinks reading Harry Potter will damage the soul.  I loved books with an element of magic myself and still do, and think literature for all age groups would be much poorer without them.  But there is room for fiction without the supernatural element too, with characters relying on their intelligence and strengths to work through their problems. I hope this isn't a boring comment.

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Never mind that The Hunger Games themselves are a copycat of Battle Royale, which was a kinder copycat of the, utterly cynical, Laboratory of Eternal War ...

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I've heard people claim YA is really good and I have a number of books categorised as YA but I admit I do tend to ignore them on my bookshelves, which is bad as its one example of judging a book by its cover, if you replace cover with label or category/genre. I remember it being discussed on twitter - someone recommended a particular YA book which she said she'd come across and thought was especially good. I haven't bought it yet but it is in my book wish list - its called After The Fire by Will Hill.

 

Some of the YA books I have on my shelves include A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly, The Dead Fathers Club by Matt Haig, Ink by Alice Broadway and the Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert, as well as All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven and The Pain Merchants by Janice Hardy. Hopefully their good and ill get around to reading them at some point.

 

I get annoyed when people are pigeon holed, so I thought its only fair to give some of them a go and see if I've been unfair in previously not being expressly keen on reading books aimed at a younger audience.

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I enjoyed A Gathering Light, it can definitely be read as an adult book, in fact I don't think I knew it was YA when I read it, as a "grown-up" version came out too.

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I loved A Gathering Light, I actually bought it twice!

 

A couple of my favourite books, like top 10, are YA - I Am The Messenger by Marcus Zusak and How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff.

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I have to say I love a number of Young Adult and children's books, the most obvious being the Harry Potter series, I originally bought these basically to see what all the fuss was about and was completely hooked and I credit these with restoring my passion for reading which at that point in time had waned to practically nothing.

 

My all time favourite YA book is Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo and in my mind is one of the most original, moving and thought provoking books out there.

 

Other notable modern YA/childrens stories for me personally were the Philip Pullman His Dark Materials series,  The Power of Five series by Anthony Horowitz and the Relentless series by Karen Lynch (and yes, all these do have a fantasy/supernatural theme, but I do like supernatural and paranormal genre books). But there are some equally nauseating and quite frankly atrocious offerings out there not mentioning any names... *cough* *cough*...Twilight... *cough* Vampire Diaries...*cough*!  

 

But when you compare it to what I read when I was a young adult (many many years ago!) it can't really hold a candle to it  who can forget some the 'classics' of children's literature, for example The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis,  The Ghost of Thomas Kempe by Penelope Lively, The Railway Children by E Nesbit, Carrie's War by Nina Bawden, There is a Happy Land by Keith Waterhouse, Little Women by Louisa M Alcott, Tom's Midnight Garden by Phillipa Pearce and James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl - in fact anything by Roald Dahl has stood the test of time,  

Edited by Apple
The wording didn't sound right and wanted to add a bit more.

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