Thursday, April 3, 2014

Heroic Youth in Peril

By Hallie Taylor

Growing up, I read a lot of things. From science fiction to historical classics, I always had a book in my hand. It seems contradictory that I would start to read young adult novels once I became an adult, but that's how it happened. As a child, I mostly read “grown-up” books, and as an adult, I mostly read young adult books. There is something fetching in these tales of young love, heroes and heroines triumphing over evil and bonding over personal struggles. They draw me in and catch my attention, but at the same time, I'm constantly running into a personal struggle of my own: what is the fantasy these books are providing for the readers?

What does living in the myriad worlds of these novels say about the readers? It seems to me that a reader of young adult fiction is living within a specific kind of fantasy world. From the vampire fantasy of Twilight, to the dystopian tragedies of the Divergent and The Hunger Games series, an avid reader of young adult fiction is constantly consuming what almost all young adult genre books have in common: young love and young violence. All of these books, invariably, include a romance of some sort between two teenage protagonists, who, throughout the course of the novel, engage in multiple battles with their perceived enemy. In our culture, I've heard it said that we have a fixation with youth: reading young adult novels transports the readers to a fantasy land, where the characters remain forever young, forever triumphant, and forever in love.

1 comment:

  1. I agree perfectly "forever young". I find myself in this situation f being drawn into young adult fantasy adventures. I wasn't such an avid reader but I do find myself recently being attracted to these kinds of stories. Now Im really engaged with the Hunger games. I think my process is reversed, I enjoy the movies which in turn draws me to the novels. A majority of these stories carries the reader into another world of young love and adventure. But it keeps us engaged and in a way in love.