Yep, this is a Kari rant... ie, a post in which I stand high on my soapbox, say what I have to say, and let you choose whether or not you want to read it. If you disagree, that's cool. It's allowed. I'm not trying to offend. I'm just speaking my mind. And now that the technicalities are out of the way...
I've noticed lately in my wanderings around the blogosphere several similar posts, the first regarding romance and content in YA. If you've been around my blog for a bit, you've already seen me rant about the common sense media crap and what not. And these rants? To me, it's an extension of that. I don't think romance in YA needs to change and I still very strongly hold my ground that if a teen is gonna read a YA book and base their life on what's in it, there's a whole lot bigger issues going on than the content of that book. It's fiction. Creative license.
I also want to know why everyone, even bloggers who have a better idea of how long the publishing process actually is, always forget, well, how long the publishing process actually is. All these "horrible books" that we're gobbling up- they weren't in response to Twilight. They aren't taking advantage of some Twilight book, they aren't trying to keep that same theme going. Twilight got popular when the movie came out- in 2008. I would be hard pressed to find any author, other than ones who already had contracts set up for books that are likely in a series, who started writing a book and had it hit shelves in under 2 years. But let's push it back, and say Twilight started really growing a following after Eclipse was released- 2007. Again, Less than 3 years. All these books we're devouring now- they were started before that or around then. NOT in response to it. And my honest thoughts on how often books are compared to Twilight, how often people say these authors are feeding off it? You are cheapening them and their work. If you think YA is really so horrible, why read it? Why have a blog devoted to it, if it needs to change?
And the "rape culture" reference going around- that is a horrible, almost despicable term to me. That alone, comparing books with weak girls (face it, there are weak girls out there. Not every chick is strong and can kick butt and doesn't give a damn) and overpowering girlfriends to something like rape- I think that is even more screwed up than the content in these books that is being blown out of proportion. Rape is violent and horrible. Rape is something that can leave even the strongest of women scarred and vulnerable. Rape is not something to compare to books. So what if younger kids read it? It's called YA- young adult, teen. If younger kids are going to read it, how is it really any different than a teen reading an adult title? Should we cut out all violence, sex, affairs, romance, etc out of those too, because what if a teen reads it?
I also want to point out- the people who are having issues with all this, at least for what I'm responding to- are probably not people who actually are in the abusive situations. It isn't the teens who have to clean up their parent's vomit because they are too drunk to do it themselves. It isn't the kid who has to work to help make rent. It isn't the girl altering her life around an abusive dad, brother who molests her, even boyfriend. I could be wrong- and I'm not saying there are none of these but the vast majority of bloggers- we're privileged. Because the people, boys and girls are alike, in those situations? They don't have time to read all the books we do. And they definitely don't have time to maintain a blog. But the fact that us bloggers are trying to cheapen and discredit books with this content is an outrage to me. These situations are real- and living in our little sheltered worlds doesn't make them go away. Open a newspaper. Turn on the news. These situations exist. I applaud the others who include elements like this, however subtle, into their books. And why would I want to read about someone just like me? I get enough of me all day. I want something else in a book.
And finally.... to wrap this up. If you're getting stressed about blogging, take a break. It isn't a big deal. If you don't want to post a meme one week, then don't. There's no law that says once you start a blog, you have to do every meme, every week, rain or shine, sickness or health. If I don't feel like doing it or am too busy, I just don't. I don't feel forced to do anything with this blog- the only requirement I have is when I take on a book for review. And I do that because it's a book I want to read, and I want to promote the author. I want to help these authors get word out about their book, even if I didn't like it. Authors and their books are not equivalent. I can like an author and dislike their book. That's okay, and if they're professional, they'll be okay with it too. Do I give a book a good rating because I have to? Um, no. I'm not that type. Never will be. Do I give a lot of books on here good ratings? Yes. Why? Because if I read a book description and it doesn't interest me, I don't read it. Like with faeries- I just can't get into faerie books. I don't care how amazing you think it is- it doesn't catch my eye. I have plenty of books that grab my eye that I will focus on. Does that cheapen my reviews because they tend to all be good? Heck no. If I think a book is worth 5 stars, it's because I think it's worth 5 stars.
Just wanted to add my two cents... because I don't think we need to make some huge change to how blogging is. I don't think authors need to edit themselves. If you hate it so much, think it's so awful, then stop reading it. Yes, Edward was overprotective and Bella rolled over in submission. So what? Yes, girls in abusive situations stay in them. News flash- that's real life. Even set into a fantasy type world, there's always elements of real life. But stop cheapening these authors who have poured so much of themselves into these books by saying they are just riding some wave started by Twilight. Stop castrating them for content. Obviously plenty of people thought it was good if it's published. Stop making it seem like bloggers are doing something all wrong and we're all just a bunch of idiots. Just stop.
That is all. I will now gracefully (okay, fall) off my soapbox and go back to reading. Because guess what? I like reading. No, I love reading. I love watching what other people's minds can create- the way they say things, the characters they build, and the story they run. It's no different than TV or movies or even video games. I don't care if I'm turning 25 this year, I love YA. I love how easy it is to read but how quickly it can suck me in. There are some very talented writers who are writing YA. Give them the credit they deserve.