I'd like to start this post with a re-enactment of something that happens to me on a fairly regular basis. Imagine that i'm hanging out with a friend who also happens to love YA. Also imagine that I'm eating mac & cheese, because MAYBE IF WE ALL BELIEVE, IT WILL COME TRUE.
Friend: Hey, Sarah, I just finished this book you HAVE to read. OMG IT IS SO AMAZING.
Sarah: Ok, what's it about?
Friend: Well, it takes place in this faerie land, and--
Sarah: [Gives The Hand] Stop right there.
Friend: But I didn't even get to tell you that--
Sarah: Seriously. You just said everything I need to know.
Friend: But SARAH IT WILL CHANGE YR LIFE. And it won a Pulitzer! And it's Michelle Obama's favorite book! And they're making it into a movie starring Mandy Moore and Allison Janney and Mark Ruffalo and Mindy Kaling is adapting the screenplay!
Sarah: I DON'T CARE I DON'T READ FAIRY BOOKS NOW PLEASE LET ME EAT MY MAC & CHEESE IN PEACE.
I offer up this scenario to you to illustrate something I call the YA Deal Breaker. In this example, mine was obviously faeries. But even if you happen to love books featuring winged creatures [judgment redacted], I bet there's something else that makes you pull a Fred Savage whenever you encounter it in a book. We all have at least one, and it's a trait that will prevent us from picking up a novel, no matter how widely it's praised, no matter how many awards it has won.
Today, in the interest of snarkery, I'd like to share with you a few of my YA deal breakers. Before you read the list, please note that these are my personal pet peeves, and you're not a bad person if you happen to like any of them. Well ok besides #4. and in that case, you just made Susan B. Anthony cry (AND SHE'S DEAD SO WAY TO GO).
1. Bad Cover
You're right, book. Love does bite. But you know what bites even more? THAT GOTH EMO SHIZZ ON YR COVER. Don't even get me started on the title of that series or I might have to make a new addition to this list. P.S. No one looks good with port wine lipstick. NO ONE.
I've ranted about this already, but apparently the publishing industry needs to hear me say it again. WHERE IS THE RESPECT? Good teen literature deserves a cover that says, "I am a smart, compelling story!" not "If you like Evanescence, YOU'LL LOVE THIS BOOK!" Then again, Vampire Kisses doesn't exactly seem like it's vying for the Printz, so maybe it actually got the cover it deserved.
Still, the bottom line is, I WILL NEVER READ THAT BOOK.
I think I already covered this pretty extensively with my introductory scenario, but if anyone has any questions, THE ANSWER IS NO.
Back in high school, I edited the literary magazine, which basically consisted of thinking I was really artsy and reading a LOT of heinous emo poetry about hearts crumbling into black ash and people crying eternal tears of crystal sorrow and shizz like that. I'll never forget the relief I felt when the magazine was finally published, because it meant I WOULD NEVER READ ANGSTY POEMS AGAIN.
And then I got into YA literature. And I saw the beauty of painful teen emotion captured in captivating verse.
JUST KIDDING I WILL STILL NEVER READ ANGSTY POEMS AGAIN.
4. Weakass Heroine
I hesitated to put this one on the deal breaker list, because it seems so obvious. It's like saying, "Oh man, if a YA book is straight up Nazi propaganda, FORGETABOUTIT."
Then I remembered Twilight and how it sold a zillion copies and then I wondered if Stephenie Meyer could write a book lauding the Aryan nation and call it Whitelight and still turn it into a best-selling franchise and then I had to numb my pain with some bourbon.
5. Nicholas Sparks
DEAL BREAKER 4 LIFE.
6. Anything titled "Vampire Kisses"
I MEAN HONESTLY.
Now I'll turn the bitchbox over to y'all. What are YA characteristics that make yr lip curl in disgust as you say, "Wait, is this a ___ book?!!" SNARK AWAY!