I was perusing the web looking for things to be mad at. It didn’t take me long. People with their noses in the air telling writers how cliché their work is. Why certain things are so overdone. Telling readers why reading YA is for morons. I’m taking just three of these clichés and setting flames to the net.
1. The Love Triangle:
Critic: Oh, it’s so over done! I’m so sick of every YA book implementing some kind of love triangle. (this critic has their glasses perched on the end of their nose and one brow arched loftily just so you know)
Me: Guess what? There are several kinds of love triangles. And life! Life isn’t simple.
Unrequited love – Boy pines for girl. Girl doesn’t have “those kind” of feelings for him. In fact, girl loves other boy. First boy is sad:( But girl can’t pretend to have feelings for him because she has to stay true to her heart.
Confused love: Girl has feelings for boy. Boy has feelings for girl. He’s a good boy, a safe boy, a boy she’s known for as long as she can remember. Then…new boy comes to town. He stirs emotions in her that she never knew existed. She didn’t know passion could burn this hot. She is torn between what is safe and what is exciting.
Long distance love: Girl and boy are separated by distance and circumstance. Girl and boy still have feelings for one another but proximity breeds complications. New boy keeps her company and they discover just how much they have in common. Old boy comes back. Girl slowly realizes she has fallen for new boy and must make a decision.
I could seriously go on and on here. My point is this, YA is about coming of age. Coming of age is riddled with self discovery and one of those self discovery facets is love. Love can be messy, especially when you’re new to sorting through all of those very intense emotions. If you don’t like reading about it fine. Pick a different genre.
2. Undiscovered Powers:
Critic: The discovery of powers when the main character comes of age, or even worse they are “the chosen one” to save all of humanity blah blah blah. Snark snarkity snark snark.
Me: Uh, have you considered trying another subgenres? Like something that isn’t fantasy or paranormal? Seems to me you might try reading mystery or contemporary lit. People flock to the fantasy and paranormal genre for escape. They want to be immersed in a world where things are extraordinary. Where the characters take on roles that are magical. Where we as readers can pretend, just for a moment, that we are those chosen ones, we are the ones who at any moment might discover the hidden gift that is our birth right. So get off your high horse and read something that isn’t speculative fiction. Leave my chosen one alone. It’s ok Harry. I still love you.
Critic: I’m so sick of seeing trilogies. They are saturating the market. There are way too many of them. When did this become such a trend? It’s stupid. (at this point all I here is the snark yippity yap yap coming from their pursed lips)
Me: Trilogies and series became prevalent way before my time. When someone finds stories and characters they fall in love with, they want more. It isn’t rocket science. Demand 101. People read, people like, people look for more. And guess what? That’s ok! And there are plenty of stand alone books for you to read out there. Go find some. Also, if you don’t like series, then don’t pick up the first in one. Problem solved.
Let me end with this, it isn’t the cliché that’s bad, it’s the writing. There are only a hand full of basic plots to work with. Clichés are prevalent because they work and people seek them out. It all comes down to how the writer portrays the characters and subplots. And if the writer has a unique voice, one you can connect with, that makes you laugh, that brings you into the story and makes you forget you’re reading words, then nothing else matters. You just need to find the right kind of pickle.
This article was originally published here ->