The Ghost of YA Yet to Come: Apocalypse Via Mary Sue

Well, the Ancient Mayans got it wrong and I’m probably going to get it wrong to with my predictions of What is to Come in YA.  But still, I’m going to try to do my best psychic interpretation.  And no, no one is going to marry any one named Damon Bradley.

Hopeful Predictions
1. More diversity in YA:  I feel like in order for the genre to expand it needs to include different heros and heroines.  Not every book needs to take place from a fifteen-year old, white, straight, American, Protestant’s POV.  In order to have excitement in the genre, characters need to be diverse.
2. The return of the Beta Male: Let’s face it, Alphas have been dominating the love interest role for a very long time.  But nice guys don’t always finish last.  Look at Darcy in Pride and Prejudice he wasn’t overtly aggressive and controlling when it came to Elizabeth.  Aloof.  Yes.  But not controlling or over domineering and he’s one of the most beloved heros in literature.  Of course, you could say the same about Heathcliff or Mr. Rochester and both are Alpha males.  But it’s time for the Beta guy to have his moment in the sun.  Maybe all these alpha male writers will write up and write a story where the MC breaks up with her loser boyfriend and gets with a guy who actually listens to her feelings.
3. Realistic fiction that doesn’t read like a Lifetime movie: God, finding good realistic books in YA that don’t make you cry is ridiculous.  Sure, Meg Cabot and Stephanie Perkins both have some great pink books to read.  But finding these pink books is difficult in general.  Most realistic YA fiction has a) a dead parent, b) a pregnant teen, c) a teen who knows a drug addict, d) an incurable disease, or e) all of the above.   And yeah, these are problems people have to deal with in real life.  But sometimes it’s just nice to get away from  your problems for awhile.
4. Romance: But YA is full of romance?  No, not really.  With insta love the genre has lost a lot of what makes romance special.  The building of a relationship.  I’ve talked about this before, but my favorite part of romance in books is this part.
5. Less Dystopia: Now that the Mayan doomsday has passed hopefully the dystopia trend can start dying down.  At least, I hope it will.  Look, I get the appeal of dystopia books but I’ve read a lot of bad ones.  Almost as many bad dystopias as bad angel books.
End of times, I think not.  End of the dystopian trend I hope so.
Dismal  Predictions
1. More insta love: To be honest, I actually see more insta love on the horizon because it’s such a cheap parlor trick when it comes to creating fiction.  Really, it is.  I can even see the insta love becoming even more simplistic potentially incorporating the soul mates concept-oh, wait it already has.  Heaven help us.
2. Hasty world building: Everyone and their mother thinks that in order to sale something in YA it has to be paranormal or dystopia lit.  And you know what, not everyone should write a paranormal or dystopia especially if they don’t know how to world build.  And sadly, there are lots of authors whose world building just doesn’t make sense. All I have to say is I blame Stephenie Meyer on this who has claimed in several interviews that she never did one drop of research for The Twilight
3. Love triangles: Publishers seem to love a good love triangle and it’s understandable, love triangles if done right can add conflict and dimension to a character.  However, most of the time…’s not good and it seems to be getting worse.  For example, I recently read a book (which I’m not going to outright name) where I couldn’t even distinguish which love interest was which.  That’s just how contrived it’s gotten.
4.Herorines that just don’t make sense: Like with world building, often YA MC’s don’t make sense in order to further the plot along.  Once again, a cheap parlor trick that seems to be increasing.  Seriously, have some explanation for their impulsiveness/stupidity.
5. Mary Sues: Unfortunately, I see this trend continuing.  Why?  Well, because I think authors usually end up basing their MC on themselves.  But their MC is a better version of them and that more often than not ends up with Sueness. It also doesn’t help when your book is not realistic fiction and the character has superpowers.  Kids, always remember this rule: Batman is better than Superman because he struggles.  Superman (save for kryptonite) is perfect, Batman is not.  Therefore, we relate to Batman more than Superman and that’s why there are more comics, movies, merchandise of the dark knight than the man of steel.

2 thoughts on “The Ghost of YA Yet to Come: Apocalypse Via Mary Sue

  1. Sadly, I think you're right about your dismal predictions but I would love to see your positive, hopeful predictions come true. I had never seen Darcy in that light but you are quite right about him. He gets things done, sure, but he's not overly posesive or agressive.

  2. I really hope that my dismal predictions aren't as dire as I predicted them to be. And definitely I hope all if not most of the hopeful predictions come true too.Yes, definitely Team Darcy.

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