I have previously mentioned my like of young adult literature here. Walking into a bookstore and seeing the huge space for young adult literature makes me really happy on the inside. I am envious of the kids that get to grow up with such an array of choices...it seemed in my day it was Judy Bloom, the Hardy Boys, a handful of classics like Tom Sawyer or Treasure Island and that was about it. I know there was more - I got into Lloyd Alexander and the Three Investigators books to name a few...but it was no where near the amount that is available today. There seemed to be a big jump, you books for young kids and then you had books for high school age, but this middle school years 4th-8th grade level books had pretty slim pickings. I remember going to a bookstores and them having one, maybe two shelves of young adult lit...and there was nothing over 250 pages, even 200 pages was hard to find. I am envious that kids now get sweeping seven book sagas where they get thicker each volume, the final volume ending up being nearly 800 pages. That would have been so awesome to me back then.
Still when I go into a bookstore, I am awed by the immensity of the young adult section...bookcase after bookcase, shelf after shelf. It is all great...except for this:
Now, I don't hate this in and of itself...I just hate how big of a chunk of the young adult section that it actually takes up. 4 and a half bookcases worth. I understand why - Twilight was huge and people want to cash in on some of that. And just like the horrible romance novels for adults, these romance novels exist for teens. But it disturbs me that it has to be paranormal romance. A few are fine, but it disturbs me a that there are so many more paranormal versus regular romance tales for young adults. I know not every girl is going to have unrealistic expectations because of these, but I am sure some will. How will they every be happy if they don't find their vegetarian vampire, werewolf with a heart of gold, or angel that gives it all up for love? And what about for guys...some have to feel some pressure to live up to an imaginary standard (similar to how girls feel pressured by society super skinny or super beautiful. Sure it is all in there minds, but that type of thing could sure mess with you if you had low self-esteem. I myself had enough problems comparing myself to knights and war heroes...and they were just people. I know it was all in my mind now, but when I was younger there were times when I just didn't feel good enough for whatever girl I happened to like, because I hadn't done anything special. At least my goals of being special were humanly possible.
Admittedly, I haven't read these books, so I could be mistaken...and I doubt most kids and teens take them seriously, but still that can sink into your subconscious. I'm just saying, step out of the paranormal romance section once in a while, try some normal fiction or romance - don't dream of something that doesn't exist.
I also found this hilarious. The paranormal romance bookcase is right next to the non-fiction bookcase...the only problem is that the romance spills over an covers 3/4 of the non-fiction. 2 measly shelves for non-fiction.
I'm glad the kids and teens of today have this great selection of books. I found it sad that I couldn't find most of the books that I enjoyed as a kid. There were a few scattered about and it made me smile to see them, but they seemed almost quaint next to the modern teen books...books that can be amazing and dark. Darkness didn't much exist in the majority of books for young adults when I was in the age bracket (which is probably why I started reading Stephen King so young). Hunger Games, with kids killing and dying all over the place? There is no way that would have existed 20 years ago. It is nice to see the gritty worlds that authors have now come up with. I look forward to reading through more of you in the near future.