It’s a pretty much agreed upon fact. Modern YA literature needs help.
A whole lotta help.
And while some people can read over the mindless ramblings (or “marshmallow fluff” as my mom calls it), I as a writer find myself constantly rewriting the plot as I go.
I’m actually quite hard on books and have this peculiar thrill when I’m tearing a book apart limb from limb. Maybe I’ll be a book critiquer when I get older.
I can look past most everything else in the book if it is nice and clean. But my ideal five — four — five-ish star book would have the following items:
Because totally realistic is not as much fun . . .
This is kind of three-parted.
Numero uno: The romances I see in YA tend to contain unrealistically, mysteriously handsome guys with the cliched “chiseled cheekbones” and dark hair. What, is that, like, the mold for hot guys nowadays?
Numero dos: Please please please guys, lose the “I’m-so-not-pretty-but-this-really-cute-guy-looks-through-me-and-sees-I-am-beautiful-on-the-inside-and-whoopee-yahoo”. While it is quite nice to think about, it’s so unrealistic it makes one’s eyebrow raise ever so minimally.
Numero tres: There are other romances that just seem to be thrown in there because, I mean, what bestseller hasn’t ever had romance (let’s consider this)? They’re like oh we need another plot twist . . . hmm . . . okay let’s throw in this guy and see what happens. He doesn’t mesh with her? Oh well, I’ll just kind tweak this and tweak that and aw they were a match made in Heaven!
Numero cuatro: Yeah I snuck this one in here, but I had to rant about this. I read a book the other day that probably was plotted out by a two and a half year old. A 15-year-old girl meets this 18-year-old guy who has a creepily obsessive crush on her and, within an hour of their meeting, her mom lets her go gallavanting around New York with him. What parent in their right mind would do that?! Please just tell me. The unrealistic-ness of this situation makes me cringe.
Because those are just the best . . .
Okay, I’m a sucker for these. You know, those poignant passages laced with words saturated with emotion. Those pages where you could just close your eyes, point, and you have a hand-lettering worthy sentence.
Those sentences you wish you could write yourself.
Noble is the key word . . .
I’m not going to go too far into this but, come on guys–books are going to have to start being rated like movies. You can write a good book without any PG-13.
Sure, it might not become a movie or make it to the top of the New York Times bestsellers . . . but who needs that, right?
One . . . or both . . .
A.} Humor that makes me drop the book because I’m laughing so hard, or B.} a mysterious and deadly plotline that makes me look for monsters in the shadows at night.
I’ve always loved good humor, and the first YA book I ever read was so ingeniously laced with it. I can appreciate a sassy, smart-aleck book with behind-the-scenes commentary. And I can appreciate a sassy, smart-aleck book with this secret commentary that the character actually says to someone. Haha! If I were a book character, I’d be the one that always says what she thinks and gets in trouble for that a lot.
So lately I’ve been really interested in the whole Gothic novel idea. Don’t reel back and say “Oh man that Amanda she’s a creepball!” See, Frankenstein and Wuthering Heights were some of the original Gothic novels. I’ve found some more modern novels, some twists on stories such as Dr. Moreau’s Secret Island etc. I think the Gothic novel is a story that mixes the supernatural with science–you know, the whole reanimating people thing with the lightning rods and screws.
If a book contains all of these, I’m sure to place it on my bookshelf in a Position of Greatness and tell all of my friends about it.
And that, ladies, is what a good book can do.