Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Higher Standard

Since I'm not writing or editing right now, I'm trying to wade through my Leaning Tower of TBR, as well as hack my way through the Forest of eBooks on my computer.  So, yesterday was pretty much a reading day for me.  (I mean in between life and Grey's Anatomy reruns.)  First off, I picked up the two books I suggested yesterday.  I read Wolf Moon first because there was some question about formatting issues and I wanted to help the author out.  Afterwards, I started Further Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman and read that until my butt got tired of sitting here and I moved off toward the couch.  (Sometimes not having a Kindle is a bitch.)

The first book I picked out of the TBR pile was a YA that I bought because it sounded cute and fun.  It's paranormal, which is right up my alley.  But it pissed me off on the first page by making some offhand snotty political comment.  "Okay," I says to myself, "shake it off and keep reading."  Which I did.  I made it through the whole first chapter before the sheer snottiness of the MC made me want to throw the book at the wall.

Okeefine.  That one obviously wasn't going to blow my skirt up.  Still in the mood for something a little different, I picked up an MG fantasy I'd been waiting for for-like-ever.  (I didn't pick this up first because, frankly, it was heavier and a hardcover.)  This story waited until several pages in before it pissed me off.  I still tried to make it work, but every time I tried to shake it off, the story would remind me of why I got pissed in the first place. 

So I set that one down, too. 

Since then I've been thinking about whether I was being too hard on those books.  I wondered whether I would've stopped reading if they'd been adult-age novels.  The answer?  Yeah, probably, but I might've been more tolerant.  I mean, if the author of an adult novel throws something I find offensive in, I can usually shrug it off and keep reading.  Unless, of course, they continue to hammer the point ad nauseum.  Then I chuck it. 

Still, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I hold books for young people to a higher standard.

MG and YA have the ability to change minds and effect opinions.  I mean, adult books do, too, but not to the same degree.  It's so much harder to have any influence on an older mind.  After all, we're old fogies and set in our ways.  The kids, though?  It doesn't take a whole lot to plant a seed and with all that fertile ground, have it take root like a dandelion.

Like all the MG and YA books I've read over the years with crappy senses of life (less prevalent in MG, but still there).  As if the teen years aren't angsty enough, these books have to show that life sucks and it always will, and if you ever try to make it better, you're going to get slapped down.  :cough:bridgetoterabithia:cough:  Better learn that lesson now, kiddies, because life's rough and the sooner you learn that, the better off you'll be*. 


I want books that show kids that yeah, there may be troubles in life, but in the end, it's possible to grow past those bad things and end up with a successful life.  Thinking otherwise? Well, if a kid doesn't see that it's possible to succeed and achieve and be happy, it's no wonder we keep seeing them taking the alternate way out.

:climbs down off soapbox:

Anyway, I expect more from MG and YA.  Yesterday I was thoroughly disappointed.  I just hope this isn't a trend, because that would truly suck.  I like taking time away from urban fantasy and suspense and romance to read a little of what's meant for the younger set.  I love Rick Riordan and Brandon Mull and Dean Lorey and Beth Revis.  I just want to keep loving them and stories like theirs.  (And please don't get me started on The Hunger Games trilogy - which started out great but ended poorly, imo.)

What about you?  Do you hold certain books to a higher standard than others?

Oh, and on the upside, the third book I picked up yesterday was a winner - Freak by Jennifer Hillier.  If it's anything like her first book, Creep, it will make me wildly uncomfortable and make even squeeb me out a little, but I doubt it will offend me.  It's Adult Suspense, though, so make of that what you will.  ;o)

* Thank goodness my parents never drummed that lesson into my head.  Nope, they taught me I could be as happy as I wanted to be if I put in the effort.  Thanks, Mom (and Dad, who isn't around to hear me anymore.)


  1. I'm harder on YA books too (I don't even bother with MG anymore--they always seem to annoy me). I don't quite know why I'm harder on those books. I guess I just get annoyed with all of the angst in them *shrugs* And, I find that YA books have more unrealistic characters than say, romance or fantasy books. It's like YA writers take the extremes and make that their entire character. Now, that's not to say that it always happens that way, I just find it's more common, LOL!

    Good post!

  2. I only read MG if asked by an author. I don't read much YA, either, except my CP's work for critique. I keep wondering if I'm missing something but I don't wonder hard enough to actually pick up some of the more popular titles to read. I do have a tendancy to "wall-bang" any fictional book that has an "in-the-reader's-face" agenda.

    Hrm...I wonder if that means I don't have standards... *looks shifty-eyed*