Discussion Forums - Young Adult

Topic: Somewhat disappointed in today's YA

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Somewhat disappointed in today's YA
Date Posted: 5/25/2008 12:45 AM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 454
Back To Top

  Just came to realize...I am somewhat disappointed in today's choices of YA. Books such as Harry Potter, Twilight, and the Clique books. There IS good YA out there, it just doesn't get as much attention. Any one else feel this way?

Date Posted: 5/25/2008 10:50 AM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2007
Posts: 2,408
Back To Top
Of the titles/series you mentioned, I have only read the first three HP books. Because I am not a reader of fantasy, these books do very little for me. I think that I pretty much jumped from Children's Lit/Series books straight to general fiction because all the angst in the "teen" books was silly to me. As a 12-17 year old I read all of James Baldwin's books, a lot of Winston Grahams' books, Gone with the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird, Barbara Pym's books, Chaim Potok, Jean Plaidy and Georgette Heyer (I loved regency mysteries as a fourteen year old!) etc. My son is 10 years old (on Thursday) so we are reading a lot of age appropriate books for him and I have to say that we are finding plenty to read. I'll have to see how things are in a few years.

Last Edited on: 5/25/08 10:51 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/27/2008 1:02 PM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2007
Posts: 5,111
Back To Top

Wow, I have to say I completely disagree with you.  I know as a teen I wish there were more books out there like this at that time.  Teens today are actually picking up books and reading because there is actually stuff that catches their attention!!

Date Posted: 5/31/2008 12:03 AM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2008
Posts: 79
Back To Top

In someways I agree.  Harry Potter is not bad, but there is a lot of books out there which do nothing for teens, but confirm all the negative stereotypes they get from the media.  There is also some great books that dare to explore the areas that would have been considered taboo before.  Like with the tv you need to be careful what you let your teens read right now, pre-screen.  If it looks good, or terrible ask them to let you read it to and talk about it with them.

Date Posted: 6/1/2008 2:31 AM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2006
Posts: 1,032
Back To Top

I am an adult and was recently introduced to YA books, with my favorite being Sarah Mlynowski's Magic in Manhattan series.  Then I had the fortune of meeting Sarah at a book signing.  Actually I think there are more YA books now than when I was that age.  As a YA, I mainly read Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys with some Mrs. Piggly-Wiggly books thrown in.  But YAs now have a much larger selection of books.  The things I don't like is the emphasis on snagging boys, clothing, and being the most popular.  Those seem to be the themes for Gossip Girls, A-List, The Clique books.  But maybe that is what many YAs face in their everyday lives and I'm just out of touch because I'm so much older.

Date Posted: 6/2/2008 5:19 PM ET
Member Since: 3/10/2006
Posts: 471
Back To Top

I totally agree with you, Sarah. There are very few good YA books and they're not very popular. Most YA books are fluff.

Date Posted: 6/5/2008 11:33 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
Posts: 5,637
Back To Top

I wouldn't say most YA books are fluff. There's fluff in all genres. One just has to look for the right books. Try John Green.

Date Posted: 6/8/2008 12:11 AM ET
Member Since: 4/13/2007
Posts: 834
Back To Top

I would have to disagree that there aren't any good YA books out.  I think it would probably depend on what you like to read.   I have read a lot of good YA books in the last year.  I read them so I can make recommendations at the local school bookswap.  I do like the Harry Potter series but that is my genre of preference. I hate to admit it but as much as I don't think its the best YA ever....I did get kind of hooked on the Twilight series(although I like to listen to it on my MP3 player).  I read more of the science fiction/fantasy genre so perhaps thats why they appeal to me.  Some of the YA I have really enjoyed recently are:

The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by: Rick Riordan, Devils Arithmetic by: Jane Yolen,  The Book Thief by:  Markus Zusack, The Uglies series by: Scott Westerfeld, The Midnighters series by: Scott Westerfeld, Peeps by: Scott Westerfeld, The Sisters Grimm Series by: Michael Buckley, Blood & Chocolate by: Annette Curtis Klaus(I really hated the movie they made out of this....it is very different from the book in way too many aspects)

A series that I liked but kind of got bored with so far is The Keys to the Kingdom series by: Garth Nix.  I enjoyed Mister Monday quite a bit....but kind of got bored with it by the time I got to Lady Friday.

Books that I didn't much care for:  The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld(sequel to Peeps), The Sea of Trolls by: Nancy Farmer(not a horrible book....but way too long and extremely drawn out)

One author I haven't read much of because it is not my favorite genre is Meg Cabot....her YA books are very popular so I will probably read or listen to a few of hers in the near future.

 *edited because I put the wrong author for one of the books

Last Edited on: 6/8/08 12:55 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/8/2008 12:43 AM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2007
Posts: 5,111
Back To Top

Anne, if your going to try Cabot, try her 1-800-where-r-you series.  It's about a girl that gets struck by lightening and after that she can find missing kids.  So, it has a little fantasy twist to it :-)

Date Posted: 6/8/2008 7:17 PM ET
Member Since: 4/13/2007
Posts: 834
Back To Top

Thanks Angela,

I will have to try those. 




Date Posted: 6/9/2008 3:13 AM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2007
Posts: 295
Back To Top

I too disagree entirely.  I suppose it depends on your reading preferance.  I have found many adults who dislike reading YA lit, but then again, YA does not necessarily write for us.  I think a good YA novel is one which deals with the issues young adults face.  Yes, that includes all the drugs, sex, and violence which makes most parents want to screen their children's books.  Personally, I liked Harry Potter, but by strict definition the series is a children's book series rather than YA.

I am a huge fan of Francesca Lia Block (again one which would make most parents scream).  I think she has a far better handle on the world of teens today than most other authors (thus why her books are banned in many schools).  Feed and The Gospel According to Larry are good reads as well.  If you want to look overseas, Postcards from No Man's Land and Thursday's Child are all wonderful reads (although they are not as common in the US).  There is a lot out there, and not everything gets the attention that Harry Potter gets (although nothing since some of Mark Twain's books have been awaited so strongly).  YA novels will never get the acceptance or publicity that adult novels recieve, and that is fine, but there is definately a long string of books for all young adults to read.

Date Posted: 7/3/2008 7:12 PM ET
Member Since: 4/22/2007
Posts: 270
Back To Top

I agree that most of the popular YA isn't too great, but I have read some extremely good serieses(sp?) that I think are fairly obscure. Alison Croggon and Kate Constable have both written really good fantasy books, and there are a bunch more authors I can't think of right now.

Date Posted: 7/5/2008 11:48 PM ET
Member Since: 6/24/2008
Posts: 4
Back To Top

I used to never read YA novels. Everything would seem so preditable and dramatic. Then I found books by Cassandra Clare and Scott Westerfield and Ann Halam and my opinion changed. You just hve to find the right authors and sometimes that's hard to do.

Date Posted: 2/13/2009 12:48 AM ET
Member Since: 2/3/2008
Posts: 144
Back To Top

I agree, the good YA don't get the attention they deserve. Harry potter has taken the spot light and they really stink in my opinon.

GOOD YA books in my opinion are:

Rangers Apprentice

The Last Apprentice

Alex Rider

The Belgariad

Land of Elyon

The Mallorean


Date Posted: 2/13/2009 8:23 PM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2008
Posts: 772
Back To Top

I've found the recent YA books pretty blah, but I've only looked at the phenoms like HP and Twilight and could barely get through the first books. Apart from a couple of the old Sunfire romances, Dragonlance, and Jackeroo by Cynthia Voigt, I don't remember heavily reading YA lit when I was of an age. I started reading Bertrice Small when I was 12 and got into romances and then historical fiction by the time I reached high school and then read nothing but silent film, opera, ancient history, and Victorian theatre stuff throughout college. Looking back, no wonder the other kids thought I was a freak!

I guess my bent is towards historical, and YA books don't often visit bygone eras. Twilight would have been infinitely more interesting if it hadn't been about ho-hum teens in ho-hum surburbia with ho-hum problems and constant whinging about them with blow-by-blow descriptions of playing a CD or making dinner. It was eye-scratchingly mundane. If it had taken place in the 1920s or 30s, then it would have piqued my interest, but that would have required some research. (Ahem.) I still think a story about Edward in 1920s Hollywood would be AWESOME. There's the dazzling problem in a sunny locale, but I'd gladly ignore it. Vampire sparkles is the singlemost stupidest thing I've seen an author devise in some years anyway.

Phillip Pullman was recommended to me and I gave him a try, but I couldn't get through The Golden Compass. It was ok in parts, but knowing that there were 2 more books and not much had happened in Book 1 3/4 of the way through didn't give me much hope of it improving. The Ruby in the Smoke was good, mainly because it was very unexpected to have the heroine get high on opium to help solve the mystery. I'm kind of still hoping there's some YA that I can actually complete and enjoy. I have the Libba Bray trilogy and hope the time period will help hold my interest.

Last Edited on: 2/13/09 8:25 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/16/2009 6:03 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
Back To Top

I think what you cited as popular is the problem not the genre. I read mostly realistic fiction and there is a ton of good YA out there. I think we need to talk more about authors who are not popular, talk to people who really read this genre, get to know a knowledgeable YA librarian and  join a few YA discussion forums and blogs.

I read very little fantasy. I have an allegeric reaction to most of the trendy books of the day. For quality YA try:

Judith Ortiz Cofer

Chris Crutcher

Carol Plum-Ucci

Sherman Alexi

Patricia McCormick

Chimanmanda Ngozi Adichi

Miltali Perkins

Sharon Draper

Angela Johnson

E.R. Frank

Walter Dean Myers

Rita Garcia Williams

Ellen Wittlinger

Julie Anne Peters

And for better or worse, the explosion of new YA authors do have a lot of teens reading. I've recently begun reading YA blogs and there are hundreds. And there are plenty of readers supporting these reviewers.