Why I Stopped Reading YA
This discussion was inspired by Stefani’s post about reading critically vs. being unfair in terms of comparing books, and my comment in response. After writing my comment, I had a lightbulb moment.
Stefani wanted to know if she was simply being unfair to books by comparing them to others, or if what she was doing was considered “reading critically.”
As I pointed out in my comment, her question about comparing books immediately made me think of Tara’s commentary on this same subject, in response to the “This is just like the Hunger Games!!” phenomenon. In particular, I was thinking about what she said in #5:
All literature derives from and is inspired by other literature. Some novels really wow us with their unique concepts or excellent writing, but even these elements are inspired by those who came before. I think I’ve made my point that there is a long history of “this book begat this book which begat that book” going on, so it is not interesting nor is it original to compare every single novel to The Hunger Games. That’s basically like announcing that you’ve not read any other dystopian novels and know little about the genre. Which is fine, but why criticize and make blanket statements like that when you’ve not read enough to know what you’re talking about?
In the Show Me Your GIFs book tag the wonderful Nyze tagged me in, I had a difficult time coming up with a response to Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi. My GIF and comment are below:
A mix of 5 books I’ve read. That was my immediate response to reading the book synopsis. I made this comment because it very, very strongly sounded like a mix of five very popular, recent books that were published, from the entire story arc to the plot lines to characters.
Stefani posed the question to readers if we do the same, so I dissected my own reading habits for a moment. In a nutshell, I do compare books. There are sometimes elements in a book that remind me of other books (because of setting, descriptions and language, dialogue or the characters themselves). But I only really compare books when there is an obvious overlap in plot.
And the next thing I said shocked even myself.
This is why I have stopped reading YA.
It was like I didn’t even know I’d been consciously doing this until Stefani helped me make this connection.
Why did I stop reading YA? It all just started to sound like the same plot lines or story arcs, just tweaked a little bit with this writer’s fancy historical background and that writer’s magical fantasy insert.
It felt like cardboard writing. Or, as some people describe them, like a cookie-cutter house.