Dear Authors of Teen Literature,
Today is National Support Teen Literature Day and I figured it would be the best time to address some of the problems in your writing, especially Teen Romances. This is an open, honest letter to those of you who THINK you write teen fiction. I’m taking this opportunity to point out the reasons why you’re doing it all wrong.
One of the biggest problems I find within teen literature is stereotyping. There are too many authors who choose to write stereotypes instead of relatable characters. For example, Stefan Bachmann’s A Drop Of Night is one of the worst examples of this trend. I recently finished this one – barely. It was, in my opinion, a horrible book mainly because of the stereotypical female characters that could not have been more obnoxious. I could NOT stand either of them. Anouk, the main character seemed like a bad EMO spoof with more than a splash of narcissism. Lilly, the second female character, was nosy and overly cheerful. This book is only ONE example but I could give many more. So please, STOP WRITING CHEAP STEREOTYPES!
Over the Top Romance
Another issue I have with teen literature is the excessive romance themes. I get that adults read these books too, but they are TEEN books and should not have detailed sex scenes. I’ve stopped reading books because of in-depth romance. For example, The Awesome by Eva Darrows sounded good. Monster hunting, AWESOME! However, a few chapters into the book and I hit a rather detailed sex scene that had no place in the book. I asked my Mom to read it and even she was shocked by the detail for a teen book. It’s collecting dust on a shelf until I reach a point where I can stomach that. You had to add in that romance didn’t you.
Why are we giving teens books filled with hardcore romance themes? Aren’t we worried about them trying to recreate some of the scenes in some of these books? Authors, are you possibly encouraging teens to do some of this stuff? Just saying. Maybe take a note from romance themes done WELL – Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst, Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco, Everland by Wendy Spinale, and Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.
Dragging Out the Story
The final issue I have with teen literature is the length of books, series, and trilogies. Too many stories are teased out to be far longer than they need to be – that’s right, I’m looking at you, Michael Grant (Gone) and Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games). Maybe you guys should pay attention to some others who know how to keep their books the right length, *ahem* J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter series. No matter what genre or age you write for you have to have respect the HP series.
To conclude I am begging you to write for your TRUE audience, not the adults who are reading teen books but the TEENS reading them. Talk to teens who read, ask them what they want to see and for all that is good in this world, stop catering to adults, they have enough of a selection to choose from without usurping ours.
Your Loving Reader,
(cuz names should always be big)