Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Chuckles Chat #68 Scenarios We Love And Hate In YA/NA

Welcome to Chuckles Chat where great blogging minds unite to discuss the topics of the day mainly in the book and blogging world. I'll be sharing my thoughts on a topic and then inviting you all to share your thoughts. It's ok to disagree but PLEASE be respectful of each other's views! All of the comments on my blog are moderated and offensive posts ie racist, bigoted will not be published! 

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Over the coming weeks I'm looking at our book buying life. By this what I mean is, what are the scenarios in a book blurb that make us really want to pick up that book and start reading? What do we love about the genre and what puts us off?

This week I'm looking at YA and NA. As a kid I couldn't get enough of 'teen' books like Sweet Dreams, Cheerleaders and Sweet Valley High but after I got into horror I was only interested in adult books. That changed after I joined Goodreads and I found YA paranormal and dystopia. I was of the opinion, and still am, that a good YA book can appeal to adults and that there is nothing wrong with adults reading YA. I don't care what book snobs say as reading is about enjoyment and we should read what we enjoy, regardless of who the books are aimed at. I was reading a lot of these books through 2012 and 2013. Getting involved in promoting Indie books led me to a great selection of authors like David Estes, DelSheree Gladden, Melissa Eskue Ousley, RJ Clayton, Suzy Turner, and I very much enjoyed these books.

Twilight in some ways was the game changer in my relationship with YA. I read Twilight mainly because I love vampires and I wanted to see what the hype was about. I admit that I found it very slow with all of Bella's settling in and various classroom encounters with Edward. In fact I almost DNFed it. I promised myself if the next chapter wasn't better, I'd stop. Luckily for the book, the next chapter was Edward saving Bella's life and I finally got into the book. I did like reading the rest of the series but again, the start of book two was very slow. I don't have any doubt that if I was reading the series now, I'd have DNFed book one having lost patience with how slow it was. It was the dreadful love triangle in this series that really annoyed me and I wanted Bella to grow a spine and tell Jacob to back off. After the success of this series, suddenly every YA book seemed to have the same formula of girl meets mysterious guy, instaluv soulmate connection, love triangle angst and resolution. I was getting tired of these tropes and it did seem that for every ten I read only one was being read right through.

By 2015 I started to discover that modern horror was no longer as long and descriptive as Stephen King. Now there were fast paced zombie books that took your breath away, creature feature books with high body counts and gore that were 200 pages long and exciting apocalypse books that kept you on the edge of your seat. The appeal of slow teen angst romances getting in the way of apocalypse or paranormal plots was waning fast for me. I pretty much stopped reading that kind of thing in 2015 and switched to what I read now.

Do I still read YA? Rarely would be the honest answer. I avoid the scenarios that had started to annoy me-the new girl at school bullied by bitchy cheerleaders, plain girl attracts hottest guy, love triangles, the love-hate relationships, instaluv, whiny females, boy obsessed girls, nasty jocks, sad orphan develops superpowers, slow beginnings, over descriptive waffle, girls love guy who treats her like crud.....you know the things I'm talking about. For a while I just avoided everything that even sounded like YA! I decided to dust off the uncompleted YA/NA series I hadn't finished and get them looked at and sent to charity shops. It was reading the rest of DelSheree Gladden's 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' series that reminded me how good some YA books could be. I started trying to select the odd few that sounded like they didn't have the tropes I hated. Gradually I did find things by the likes of Elizabeth Briggs, Simone Pond, and SM Wilson that I could enjoy again. 

I now have a small pile of YA that I at least like the sound of again and hopefully some will be good. I am certainly more selective about which ones I'll read. I want to read more things like The Hunger Games and The Extinction Trials. I like YA characters like those in Future Shock and Hidden Sight who are mature and non whiny. I don't feel the need to avoid the genre totally, just be more selective about what I read. I won't always make the right choices but my chances are better. This way, I'm not going to miss out on the best the genre has to offer and hopefully I can avoid the worst.

Do you read a lot of YA? What scenarios do you love about YA? Which tropes do you hate? Which authors avoid those tropes that you'd recommend on the horror, paranormal and apocalypse side of things? Which good YA have you read recently?

24 comments:

  1. I still love ya and I always loved Twilight. I have to admit that Twilight is what got me into reading ya and since then I found much better YA books but Twilight will always hold dear to my heart. I don't like the insta love but it doesn't bother as much as love triangles. Those I feel have no need in the books. Just drama for the sake of drama. I have been reading more adult books lately because some of the YA books or at least many of them seem to have the same story with different details. I found that in adult sometimes too so I am starting to branch out. The problem with reading many books is that I find it hard to find those books that wow me. I don't know if I read Twilight now for the first time if I would love them that much but since it was the start of my YA love I hold them dear. I do think they opened up the YA world to many more types of books because of the fandom it brought. The genre really grew after that. What I do love about YA is the passion you only feel as a teen in them. It makes me happy. I feel the character development is just more in these books. I love the character driven books. I find it at times in adult books but most of the time I find adult books are more story driven. I also like that they are faster paced... usually not always. I do have ADD with books so the YA helps with this... so does audio. great discussion. Like you I judge no one on what they read. Reading is for escaping and enjoyment. IF it doesn't do that for you, you are reading the wrong books. Find what you love and dig in. That is my motto.

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    1. You raise a good point-whatever genre we read it can be hard to find something really original these days. I did really enjoy Twilight first time round but my taste in books has changed since then. I have some YA books I bought years ago that I really need to get reading so I can clear my shelves a bit! I also agree with you about adult books sometimes being more plot driven. In the horror I read, characters are less developed due to the high death toll! I'm also a great believer in finding what you love and enjoying it, regardless of genre! Great points!

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  2. I read YA, but I’m very picky about what I read. If it sounds like romance is the main focus, I avoid it. The best YA dystopia I've read recently is Scythe. Minimal romance and lots of craziness.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. It's been tough recently to find good YA that isn't dominated by romance and fits the kind of thing I like reading. I have a few YA that are gathered on my shelf from years ago-I really need to get them on a priority list. I think I might start doing reading themes again to try and deal with some of the backlog in YA, SF and fantasy.

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  3. What I am enjoying these days about YA is how they are taking on topics like school shootings, feminism, and more tough topics. I think the genre is going from strength to strength with topics like this. I am afraid no recs in your fave genres, Chuckles :(

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    1. I do agree with you about that. I'm seeing more gritty topics like racism and school shootings and a few of them look more to my taste than the fluffier romance type contemporaries.

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  4. I don't really know that I intentionally read YA or NA, but if a synopsis interests me, I don't care what it is :) I do stay away from YA contemporaries though for the most part because I can't stand insta-love and it seems to be everywhere. Also, I don't feel like I can really relate to YA romance after being married for so many years. Great thoughts and discussion. Glad to see you back - the pups and I were worried about you.

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    1. I don't go looking for YA or NA either but I have recently liked Elizabeth Briggs SF, Simpome Pond'd UF and SM Wilson's dystopia. A few more like those would be nice! I agree about instaluv being everywhere.

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  5. I absolute hate Twilight, have never read any and never will. I kind of wish Buffy and Edward were real, so Buffy could stake Edward and we'd be done with it all. Vampires should NOT sparkle. It really bothered me how the author took hundreds of years of vampire folklore and basically brushed it off, so they could sparkle. Seriously. Sparkle? Ugh.

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    1. *giggles* Edward would have no chance with Buffy chasing him! I know that vampires sparkling thing bothered a lot of readers but I wasn't caring too much one way or the other. It was the slow pacing that bothered me and the dumb love triangle.

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    2. I have heard that complaint a lot from other readers, especially about the love triangle. And then didn't their daughter end up growing super fast and marrying Jacob or whatever? I mean, seriously.

      Years ago one of my friends and I decided to make a drinking game out of the movies. We were supposed to take a shot each time Edward did something misogynistic or Bella had an inappropriate emotional response. We were hammered about 35 minutes in, and had to abandon the shots idea, and just take a drink of beer or our White Russians. Apparently we watched the first and second movies, but I recalled nothing after that first 35 minutes, so...

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    3. That sounds like a lot of drinking! I doubt I'd enjoy reading the books now with my taste changing so much these last 5 years!

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  6. I read a fair amount of YA and I'm the same way- I'm SO over instalove and love triangles and all the tropes. I just read the Hunger games for the first time though recently, and yes The Extinction Trials- THOSE are the kinds of YA I want more of! Speaking of, the new Extinction Trials book just arrived and I can't wait to dive in. :)

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    1. Tropes for me just show a lack of imagination by the author to come up with something a bit different, or a twist on the subject. I have my copy of Exile-I bought it on holiday and it's going to be read in the next week or two, once I review the first one!

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  7. Man, I read YA 90% of the time. I think it is a genre that is very hard to love after a certain age in your life. For some people that may be 20 and for others it can be 60.

    Like you, I'm starting to hate Instalove and love triangles. I think I'm at a point where those types of YA Romance become too cliche for me. The ending can be so predictable with these books as well.

    I personally love any YA books that have a strong protagonist. Male or Female, I don't care. If they're independent, strong physically and mentally, and smart, I'm 60x more invested in the book. I don't like the whole "damsel in distress" type of main characters.

    As for books to recommend...

    I would say The Body Finder series by Kimbery Derting. I would classify this book as paranormal. The book doesn't have instalove but there is romance in it. There is no love triangle in the series until book #3 but it wasn't the main focus of the series. Overall, this book is about a girl who can see the dead that have been murdered and their killers.

    An odd recommendation is The Declaration series by Gemma Malley. In the future, people have found the "fountain of youth." They do not grow old, get sick, and die. To stop the world from overpopulating now, children are illegal. Any that are born, are considered the lowest forms of life.

    That's all I have at the moment xD I don't read much horror YA. I've read three paranormal series and other than The Body Finder series, everything else sucked. There's a lot of Dystopian series out there, but I feel like a lot have love triangles.

    I really enjoyed The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli, Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard, and Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas recently. Good luck on your book adventures!

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    1. Thanks for the recs. Sadly the books you mentioned all have love triangles or the blurb mentions romance, which makes me wary that this will dominate the story, and this is the type of YA I avoid.

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    2. That's all good :D Good luck on your hunt!

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    3. Maybe I shouldn't be looking for more! My bookshelves are complaining!

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  8. It is really interesting how tastes in books change over time. I think we are close to the same age and I remember my friends reading Sweet Valley High but those were not for me. I did take a few romance novels from my mom's shelf when she wasn't looking and got hooked on V.C. Andrews. I probably read more YA now than when I actually was YA. That being said I can only read so many teen books before I feel like reaching for something else. I need variety more than anything.

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    1. I only read YA books if the book plot sounds good and trope free and if reviews of it back that up. I know I'm missing some great books but I think I'm limiting the amount of DNFs too!

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  9. I read some YA, mostly the ones with a supernatural element to them. But I find myself DNF-ing more YA novels these days than I used to; and I can't do high school dramas, or teen angst, or love triangles. But if the characters are like Buffy, I'm in. :)

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    1. Yes to more YA books in the mould of Buffy! High school settings and teen angst just annoy me now!

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  10. Somehow I never read the Sweet Valley High books but I was a big Babysitter's Club fan. I read the Twilight books with my oldest when she was reading them so we could talk about them and they weren't terrible but it did convince me that vampires aren't my thing! I don't read much YA and if I do it's normally an adventure type story like Lunar Chronicles. I don't really like books about kids just being normal teenagers! Too much mean girl stuff I guess. Great topic.

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    1. I'm more a fan of scary vampire person but I don't mind different takes on it so I wasn't bothered by sparkly vampires the way a lot of people were! I'm looking at other genres more than YA but if a story sounds good and non tropey I'll try it!

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