It always starts the same. There’s the urge to do something, to flee, to run, to read, to write. But it always ends the same, none of this stuff ever gets done. I challenged myself to read 75 books within the space of a year [via the amazing GoodReads website] and so far I’m something like 9% behind. This is frustrating as my friends, also on the website, are well ahead and have far more books to read for themselves, and far busier lives.
Something that has taken up much of my time in this regard is Wicked, which, I’m glad to say, I finished last week. I was planning to Vlog about it, but didn’t have the energy to do so. I think this is one book that’s going to take some time to sink in fully. I genuinely believe that it tried to do too much in regards to political satire, Rights, comedy etc. It was also way too long, and the ending too rushed. But I’m glad I have taken the time to read it as I wanted to see where the musical originated, however, I was shocked at how different the two mediums were.
In other book news I got Alex reading The Hunger Games. I can’t decide if I’m looking forwards to the film or not, as I know I enjoyed reading the novels at the time [much like, embarrassingly, Twilight, although that this is something I shall never, ever mention again in the whole of my blogging life] the books are very similar in my mind. I think this is something that I have mentioned before, so let’s hope that the movie, due out this weekend, is actually good. I want it to be darker than the book, but I doubt that this will happen.
This, in a roundabout fashion, brings me to the general topic of Young Adult [YA] fiction. I think I like this genre more for the fact that I like easy reads [see: Wicked] except for the fact that I have found that the recent books that I have read in this genre are very… well flimsy. My most recent read was Red Riding Hood, and I have to say that I’m disappointed in authors writing in this area. There aren’t any truly stunning characters that I would say could capture people’s hearts and create strong role models. “Valerie” in Red Riding Hood constantly referred to her sister being the bright, beautiful, caring, amazing sister, whereas she herself was the very opposite. This level of focus in comparing one character [sibling, friend, whatever] I think is something that could really affect impressionable minds. I don’t mean that in the sense that they are going to go a bash someone over the head or anything like that, but there seems to be a consistent lack of self belief in oneself. This is seen in Hunger Games as much as anywhere else, with Katniss frequently surrendering to the idea that she was never going to leave the arena, and then the ending of the entire series? What was that really about?
I’m not a typical feminist, in fact, I generally don’t care for feminism in itself, but surely it makes more sense to write strong female characters rather than ones that are constantly self doubting their own abilities? How will that affect the future of YA readers? It makes me want to write/finish my own novels to show that YA doesn’t need to be like this – that strong characters don’t need to be so wholly ‘flawed’ such as seems to be the trend at the moment.
If there is someone out there with suggestions for good YA books that would be grand, something to show me that this genre isn’t dominated by this sort of literary stereotype.