Top 10… most annoying teen fiction trends

March 6, 2009 at 7|20|pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Straight from my post at the YALSA blog, I bring you…

Top 10 Most Annoying Teen Fiction Trends!

01. If I read one more book where a character is “oh my god so different” because they dress in black-and-hot-pink outfits and thinks that nobody understands them because they listen to Panic at the Disco and are just sooo alternative, I will scream. This does not make you (insert sparkles here) TOTALLY UNIQUE. It just makes you look like you know nothing about pop culture – look, this may have been a fresh and new idea for a protagonist, like, twenty years ago, but right now emo kids are right up there with the common cold. (Top offenders: most books involving vampires; Scarlett in Ghost Girl. Averted in: Sucks to Be Me – as well as subverted with Raven, the vampire wanna-be who thinks she’s qualified just because she shops at Hot Topic.)

02. Conversely, wearing polo shirts and lots of pink does not make you a shallow, vapid idiot who looks down your nose at everyone. Sorry, but people just don’t fit into perfect little boxes just like that. (Top offenders: any book about “elite” cliques ever; most books involving vampires. Averted in: Just Listen; Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks; most likely Frankie in The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. Absolutely subverted in The Squad – FBI-backed cheerleaders!)

03. Chosen ones suck. I personally don’t believe in destiny – “you make your own dream,” as John Lennon might say. I’m sorry, but when a character MUST SUCCEED BECAUSE THEY ARE CHOSEN BY A GREAT PROPHECY (okay, I’ll quit it with the caps lock) it takes all the fun out of it. (Top offenders: Harry Potter – because it was (sparkle) PROPHECISED!; most YA fantasy. Averted in: the Young Wizards series – Nita and Kit chose to become wizards of their own free will. Completely, 110% subverted in: Un Lun Dun – never underestimate the power of the Plucky Comic Relief.)

04. If I see the words “Manolo Blahnik” in a book about middle school students one more time… (Top offenders: that horrible Clique series (shudder!); Gossip Girl imitations for kids too young to watch the show.)

05. “Oh, look, a book by a fifteen-year-old author! We’ll publish it because that’s a cool gimmick, despite that there’s no editorial work done whatsoever and it’s a blatant Lord of the Rings rip-off!” (Top offenders: do I even need to tell you?)

06. Books trying to ride the wave of Twilight’s success bug me more than Twilight does, and that’s saying a lot. The local Barnes and Noble is clogged with vampire/human romances… and let’s not even get into fairy/human, werewolf/human, pixie/human, vampire/vampire, vampire/werewolf… the sheer un-creativity of the teen market is mind-boggling. (Top offenders: Marked; Wicked Lovely; Need.)

07. Unrealistic books where the main character wins a competition and is thrown into the (sparkle) WILD WORLD OF SHOW BUSINESS! Which is dramatic and full of beautiful people! Like the heroine! Only she’s normal! Even though she really isn’t and these books are just made to have us raise our hopes of stardom, only to be crushed when we realize that LIFE ISN’T LITERATURE! Gag me. (Top offenders: Starlet; almost any book on this subject. Subverted, though still not successfully, in Secrets of my Hollywood Life, about a teen actress who decides to live as a “normal” high school student.)

08. Authors trying to write in Meg Cabot’s style. She’s got the gift of making her books both semi-cheesy and yet ridiculously fun (especially The Princess Diaries) – her imitators are just cheesy. Louise Rennison wanna-bes are pretty bad too. (Top offenders: British teen chick lit; LBD -worst. Book. Ever. Averted in: um, Meg Cabot and Louise Rennison.)

09. And since it seems I can’t go a blog post without going on a manga-related rant: the spells, oh my god, the long, awkwardly translated, always-seeming-to-include-the-word-dragon spells. Can’t they just, I dunno, snap their fingers or something? (That’s why flame alchemy is useful, you know – you don’t need to talk, so you can maintain your dark-tall-and-brooding character trope!)

10. One word: Twilight.



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  1. Was this post deleted from the YALSA blog??

  2. Yes, it was. Why do you ask?

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