YA Concepts I Cannot Bear Any Longer

YA Concepts I Cannot Bear Any Longer

I am done with young adult novels that feature the following concepts:

Angels, of any kind. Fallen, unfallen, heroic, badass, guardian, doesn’t matter. Because Angels are not sexy. Because heaven is involved. And when I think of heaven I think of church. And when I think of church I think of being hungover and my sister hiding her hickies under her pink cowl neck sweater and me feeling guilty and terrible and now I’m so relieved that I don’t have to waste my Sunday any longer like that or worrying about my hungover ass going to hell. But more to the point – I just don’t care if the angels win. Because that means that GOD wins. And I just don’t care if GOD wins or the Satan loses or any of that junk. So, all the tension of the drama is punctured by my disbelief. It’s nothing personal. It just won’t work on me. Also those wings? Not sexy. Wings ain’t sexy. FACT.

Mythologies/Gods/Goddesses. I’ve only read one version of this that was executed well and it was Meg Cabot’s Abandon. (Probably because she named her god-guy John, not Castor or Argo or whatever the fuck. And probably because it’s MEG CABOT, hello. Also, Percy Jackson was awesome. But that’s more middle grade. And really the first to jump on the myth bandwagon, too.) I won’t list the others that missed the mark because I’m trying to have manners and because I was very disappointed that these books weren’t good. I love Greek and Roman mythology. But apparently the writers who share this enthusiasm are just not good at executing the vision.

Dystopias That Stamp Out TRUE LOVE. I might be done with dystopias in general, you guys. I mean, I’m devoted to Divergent but not because of the world-building. I’m a fan because Veronica Roth’s plot moves like a freight train, (though her world-building is also good). But worlds where the main job of the Evil Bad Society Gone Wrong is to tamper with the True Love of teenagers? Please. I’m embarrassed to read this kind of thing. Social justice and first love are heady concepts, of course, but when the crux of the plot hinges on WILL THEIR LOVE DESTROY THE WORLD? Please.

One of my favorite movies EVER is La Femme Nikita. Which they remade with the unlikely, thin-lipped Bridget Fonda as Point of No Return.  Don’t watch Point of No Return – Bridget Fonda can’t hold a candle to Anne Parillaud. Anne Parillaud is probably the only French thing I like. Beside the fries.


The point of all these references is that they made this awful TV series based on the original La Femme Nikita featuring Peta Wilson and this guy with a mullet who was her boss at assassin school. His named was Micheal and he and Nikita had this big freaky wordless crush going on. And while the movie was about a girl who is transformed into an assassin and how she must live a double life, the whole TV show was about engineering horrifically complicated espionage scenarios that would test Nikita and Micheal both, to see if either of them would betray each other and kill each other and admit they were in love with the other. So, we were supposed to think that Romanian uranium dealers and Somali pirates and Bolivian dictators and IRA bomb-makers did all their devious crap in an effort to see if Nikita would cop to wanting to jump Micheal’s bones. One New Years’ Day, I had a paralyzing hangover and sat in front of a Nikita marathon on TV and had I not been in such wretched shape, I would have stood up on a soapbox in my living room and screamed, “Stop this madness! All this ‘do you like her because she likes him?’ crap! It diminishes us all, dammit!

So this is why when I read certain nameless books that have heavily structured worlds hell-bent on destroying the eternal swoony romance of goopy high schoolers, I want to die laughing and hide in a closet,  in shame for myself and the writer, both.

Mermaids/Mermen. I should probably mention now that though I’ve never read any YA books involving them, I just can’t imagine this being cool. Someone must really work to prove to me how these creatures could be compelling, sexy and not intrinsically stanky. I mean, I’ve owned a goldfish. I’m not a total idiot.


  • Carrie on Sep 30, 2011 Reply

    I’m a fan of magic realism, too. Like Marchetta’s Jellicoe Road. That book can do no wrong.

    Also, I’m a bad judge of these concepts, because of my lack of belief in the supernatural and my allergy to romance. The stakes just aren’t high enough and I have such a problem with cornography about Twu Luv.

  • Kirstin Cronn-Mills on Sep 30, 2011 Reply

    Contemporary YA: the place to be. No disrespect to other YA. Though I do like a tiny dose of magic realism in a book.

    (and I must mention David Almond wrote a funky wonderful story (in a collection called CLICK, which you should *definitely* read) about a merman, and he is not stanky)

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