Ok commencing rant (WARNING: this may or may not be well written as this is primarily word vomit).
Why is it that almost every single young adult novel that I’ve come across so far is a combination, if not practically a direct copy, of The Hunger Games, Twilight, Pretty Little Liars, The Clique, and every other occult-love-triangle-scifi-romance that’s ever been written? I don’t usually rant about bad quality books; I mostly just kind of acknowledge their existence for a second and then ignore them for ones that I’d actually read. I chuckle at the one and two star book reviews that I agree with and express confusion over five star reviews for the same book (and vice versa), but I mainly keep strong reviews to myself. Even on my Goodreads profile, a majority of my ratings are four and five stars since I rarely absolutely hate a book (except for Matched and Bumped; they actually made me angry).
Every once in a while, I like to scour the “Best Books of the Year” and “Adventure Novels to Die For” type lists so I can add books to my ever growing to-read shelf. If I find a book or series that I love, I’ll read it and reread it over and over again (as I’ve done multiple times with the Alex Rider series or The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series), and then I’ll search for more spy novels or books about a sisterly quartet hoping that I’ll like them as well. This usually goes pretty well; using this method, I’ve discovered the CHERUB series by Robert Muchamore and Peaches by Jodi Lee Anderson among many other books from other genres.
But sometimes I want to go beyond what I’m used to, maybe find a book about a group of dancers or a maid living in the throes of World War I. I may not have read many books on these “odd” topics, but I like to expand my interests. I generally know the kinds of books that I like, and I stick to genres/topics such as historical fiction or espionage or actual-real-life-problems-not-complicated-with-the-supernatural-or-a-very-annoying-unrealistic-romance. But even when I try to find books within those genres, I keep stumbling upon some Beverly Hills-esque novel or something about a vampire love triangle. For those who like those genres, lucky you. I think a good majority of the young adult authors are writing books with exactly those subjects, maybe even in combination with a dystopian society or something. Granted, those subjects are popular now thanks to Suzanne Collins and Stephanie Meyer. But I want a little creativity with young adult novels and series. Tackle a subject that’s not dealt with very often. Write a novel where the protagonist’s life doesn’t change when he or she meets the future love of his or her life. There’s so much more to life than having a summer fling. Maybe this is why I’ve been gravitating towards epics like Fall of Giants by Ken Follett (which I actually didn’t like too much with the, in my opinion, gratuitous sex scenes). Reading about the full life of someone, real or fictional, is actually quite satisfying.
But I digress. So far as I’ve searched, almost all of the books for my age group seem to be cut from the same cloth (and at times, not well); a spy novel emphasizes the romance a little too much or the rebellion in a dystopian series is downplayed to the point of nonexistence (Matched anyone?). I’ll admit, I’ve gotten a little tired of starting a book and not finishing it because the writing and the plot is boring. Or, finishing it but feeling like I’ve wasted my time in reading it.
Now, I know I may not find another Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants to read, but I just want a young adult fiction novel that I can enjoy. One where I’m not bored by the protagonists’ constant declarations of semi-love (Nobody…ugh…). One where I can relate somewhat to the characters (Pretty Little Liars just didn’t do it). One where I can come out missing the characters a little (I couldn’t care less about Claire from The Art Forger) and wanting to read again. But I’ll keep hunting, and hopefully I’ll find something worthwhile. Goodreads has actually been a big help with their derivative recommendations. It’s nice to let something else do the searching for you. And the reviews certainly give me laugh every now and then.
P.S. I know I mentioned a lot of books that I haven’t reviewed or added to my What I’m Reading Now page, but you’ll probably see them in a later post since I recently finished (or stopped reading) a few.
P.P.S. Also, if you’re annoyed/understanding of my rant here, please give me recommendations that can prove me wrong about how all young adult novels are overly romantic, occult, and dystopic. I need reading material. I’d especially appreciate series if possible. 🙂