I love young adult literature. Since I read Harry Potter back in the early 00’s, I have delved head-first into the colourful cauldron that is YA literature and found some incredible gems in there. Having read everything from John Green to Veronica Roth, I also know that like every other genre, YA has some repetitive themes. I recently started another YA fantasy novel and couldn’t get myself to finish it. That’s when I realised I needed a break from the genre. If you love young adult as much as I do, but can’t seem to help rolling your eyes every two pages, you might be suffering from a YA overdose as well. Here’s what it’s like to suffer the aftermath of reading too much young adult:
You start recognising the tropes.
The whole “bad guy can only be defeated by unassumingly beautiful teen and his/her rag-tag friends” starts to get really old after a couple of similar books in the genre. And let’s not forget how the protagonist is always the “Chosen One.”
You have a hard time believing the protagonist as special or different.
This is my biggest pet peeve when it comes to YA literature – the specialness. This is seen often in female protagonists and sometimes in male ones, too. The “specialness” is sometimes disguised as quirkiness and makes everyone fall in love with the blatantly unremarkable protagonist despite the sheer lack of personality.
You just can’t take some of the “issues” seriously.
Sometimes you just can’t get yourself to care about which boy the protagonist likes more. How is the fate of the world resting on this person’s shoulders, again?
You have no patience for love triangles.
Love triangles are the most overdone tropes in YA literature. Whether it’s your average Edward/Jacob dynamic or slightly creepier like The Mortal Instruments, everyone knows who the main character is going to end up with, so the whole charade is essentially pointless and frustrating.
You need to understand why the bad guy is the bad guy.
With rare books like the Harry Potter and Mistborn series, you get a glimpse into the bad guy’s backstory and how they became the Dark Lord/Lord Ruler. But there are many authors out there (ahem, Cassandra Claire) that expect you to accept that the bad guy is doing unimaginably horrible things because of some vague mystical thing or some far-fetched revenge scheme. When you’ve been reading YA for almost a decade, this just seems lazy and uninspired.
You hope that no main character gets to pick a baby name ever again.
We’ve seen enough with Albus Severus Potter and Renesme Cullen, thank you very much.