Thursday, March 29, 2012

I Miss the Light

Tip of the Day: Don’t lock up your teen books libraries! Adults read YA too! (Our public library doesn’t open the teen section until 3 p.m. daily. BOO!)

I’m with Deena. Yesterday she talked about what she’s looking for as a teen librarian so today I’m going to tell you what I’m looking for as a YA reader.

Look at this:

Notice anything? What the heck is with all the dark books?! Okay, I get it. Publishers want to make lots of $$$ so they chase trends. When Twilight was big (okay, settle down all you Twi-hards. :-) I know you feel Twilight still IS big. I mean more at the beginning of Twi-mania) there were 1.2 million vampire books released that year. I may be embellishing on that number but it certainly felt like that right? And now Hunger Games is a huge success so brace yourself for the onslaught of world ending, fighting for your life, I’m just trying to make it another day without being poisoned, burned, drowned, shot, stabbed etc. but my hair still looks cute books.

And that’s great and all for the occasional high adventure book. But what about everyday life? What about stuff that might actually happen to teens today? I want to read about what to do when your best friend suddenly stabs you in the back. Or how to deal with the fact that the guy you’ve been secretly in love with for years just fell in love with your best friend. I want some more realistic stuff on the shelves. And make it funny too please. There isn’t nearly enough funny stuff available anymore.

I’m not saying that there isn’t ANY. There totally is. But you’ve got to hunt it down because it sure isn’t getting the promo the doom and gloom stuff is. I’m currently reading Meredith Zeitlin’s Freshman Year and other Disasters which came out earlier this month and it's totally cute. 

And Kristin Walker (A Match Made in High School) has a new book coming out next month that’s super funny.  

But I miss the bigger selection of light funny books. There was a time that I would walk into the library and just check out all of the pink books. Not lying. I didn’t even read their summaries. But I just knew if it was pink it would be girlie and fun. And I was rarely disappointed.
And it not just me. I’m hearing this from teens too. I was skyping with a book club not too long ago and after we finished I asked them what kind of books they were reading. The teens were all excited about Hunger Games and the movie but they expressed that aside from the Hunger Games they were growing very weary of all the dark sci fi and dystopian. One teen said, “Why are all the books about end of the world, people dying, and all that awful stuff? Why can’t there be nice stories about things that really might happen?” She went on to say that was why they had read mine that month because they were looking for books that weren’t depressing.
And I get e-mails from readers all of the time about how much they like to laugh and relate to fun stories so there is a need there. Obviously I wouldn’t want the bookshelves to be all pink either but, hey how about we shoot  for a balance? Hopefully we’ll start seeing more fun romance YA around the corner.
Kristina, Miss Author in Action


Anonymous said...

If you stop looking in sections labeled "teen paranormal romance" and "new teen fantasy and adventure" and look in the teen fiction section (usually located right next to those sections in my local Barnes and Nobles stores) you'll find the pink. Oodles and oodles of pink. And light purple, and some really bright green. Also check the end caps of the adult fiction. My local B&N does lots of YA romance at the endcap of adult fiction.

Kate Fall said...

As someone writing a "we could be shot, crash, or be captured into slave labor at any moment" book, I HATE it when the girl is more concerned about her hair and fingernails than about the gravity of her situation. Total pet peeve. But I get lots of comments that "Publishers want to see more romance in something like this." Sigh. Maybe it would be easier for me if my actual teen years had something approaching a non-dysfunctional romance, but no luck there.

My local B&N is on the small side, and we don't have all those teen sections. I mostly see what Tina sees. Most of the floor space seems to be devoted to Legos.

Liana said...

I love fun books too. It's a nice inbetweener before you dive into the next deep one.

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

The library locks up the teen books until 3 PM???? I would be majorly distressed!

Kristina Springer said...

Only the one was teen paranormal romance Anonymous. Did you notice the first was Target's Teen shelf? And I'd LOVE to see a shelf with oodles and oodles of pink!!! And purple and green. That'd be awesome. Send me a pic. :-) And I never noticed YA on the end cap of adult fiction but I'll definitely check next trip.

Emily Marshall said...

Hopefully!!!! I love my pink covers too. I'm with you, I normally just look for pink on the spine and then get it :) Though in real life I'm not that much of a "pink girl," but I know it will be my kind of book.

And hopefully the times are swinging back more to the light and funny.

DeenaML said...

Anon -- I think different towns/cities definitely have different identities, so it's cool that you have more of the light stuff near you!

Kate -- you are writing a pretty dark books....but so did I. But I'm hoping my two lighter contemp YAs will still sell! Ironically, when I had FASHION on sub, it got more than 1 response: "I like this book, but do you have anything with paranormal romance?"

Liana -- Yes! I love some dark stuff, but I need variety.

Jennifer -- If I were the YA Librarian at Tina's library, I would FREAK OUT and DEMAND that policy be changed! Argh!!!

Tina -- I wish I had a pic of the processing area in my lib when a large order of kids and YA books comes in. I DO buy the new lighter stuff that comes out, but my shelf is so dark looking right next to the J Librarian's shelf that has a rainbow of colors.

Em -- It's interesting how much color can affect our perception of what we'll get inside.