Don’t think I’ve written off the entire genre, that’s not what this post is about. This post is just a little rant about some of the YA contemporary out there, and more specifically, YA contemporary romance. I would never just assume that I hate a book because it’s a genre I don’t like. I am, however, not likely to pick up a more contemporary novel when there are other fantasy, sci-fi, ect. books that I really want. The only one I’ve wanted to buy recently is Fangirl because I want to read it before I read Carry On, and that’s what I really want to read.
Dont’ get me wrong, there are plenty of things to rant about for YA fantasy, and a lot of the complaints are along the same lines, but I don’t really get into contemporary and I wanted to answer why I don’t. If you have any book recommendations that you think could change my mind about the genre, please comment them down below! I do want to get into the books, I just really can’t with the ones I’ve tried.
The romance tales follow the same premise. There are some really good YA romance novels, like The Fault in Our Stars, that break from the commonalities, but for the most part, they follow the same plot. This can be seen in a lot of romance in fantasy novels, but there’s usually something that sets it apart, like a zombie apocalypse, or wizardry. In most contemporary romance novels, there’s a bad boy or a boy that stands out because he’s an extremely obnoxious football player or a super quiet good boy, and he goes for the shy quiet girl that was either infatuated with him or completely hated him. From there the guy usually does something wrong or the girl feels intimidated and leaves him, but they always come right back together without a problem.
I understand that all books have a sort of template that sets up a traditional plot line for whatever genre, but there’s very little to set each book apart, especially when the novels come from the same author.
They take place in present time on Earth. I don’t know about you guys, but when I read, I want to be transported. I want to be enveloped in another land or another time or some place that doesn’t exist. I, sadly, don’t travel, like at all, and when I have it was because I was moving, but I have never left the United States. So for me, books are my form of travel. It’s like I can pick up a novel and go on a round trip to whatever place I read about that day.
The girls are sometimes dull. They’re always the same and they don’t usually have any real parts to them. Yeah, they’re relatable because they’re just an average girl, but they’re not usually strong or empowering in the romance novels, they’re just extremely average. And if the guy is extroverted or a bad boy, he usually runs all over her. I love relationships in novels, but I like when the girl takes some control, no matter how difficult the guy may be. There was one random novel I bought for like four dollars at BAM called The Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly, and I got like one hundred pages into it. It was a decent story, it was set in the fifties, which I love, but there was just no substance and nothing to keep the story moving. I had no idea what the story was even leading to because there was no plot in sight, just a girl falling for a guy who ran all over her.
Someone always does something wrong. It’s either one person cheats or it’s something they said, or didn’t say, and that’s always the twist of the story. Why can’t someone get kidnapped? Where’s the brutal fight scenes? There are a lot of great contemporary books that are like that, such as Looking for Alaska (again John Green is great).
John Green is great at adding that twist that sets his stories apart from the others, and I love his books. It’s just the books like Sarah Dessen’s that get to me because there’s really little substance. I went through a whole Sarah Dessen binge my freshman year of high school, and I devoured those books, but thinking about them now, they’re just not my thing. Every book is pretty much the same by Sarah Dessen, there’s just a few things that differentiate them, like ones on the beach, in one the guy is a druggie, in one there’s a baby that won’t stop crying. Those are really just the highlights that stand out to me because the plots all blurred together.
I didn’t mean to offend anyone in any way, I just wanted to put my thoughts out there. I don’t read a lot of contemporary, so if there are some great books that you think will sway me, leave them down below and I’ll check them out!
Thanks for reading!