Hi friends, happy Sunday! Did you have a lovely week? Mine was pretty uneventful, to be honest I am just looking forward to more long weekends and time off, haha. Today I’m glad to be back with a discussion topic about my favorite genre, contemporary books.
A couple days ago, as I scrolled down Twitter, I happened to stumble upon a strange conversation, or more like single tweets quoting and denying something that someone had said. I’m not going to pinpoint who because to be honest, I do not know, and I do not really care. I’m not here to point fingers and blame anyone, but these couple of tweets definitely sparked something in me.
Because we are talking about my favorite genre here.
To quickly sum things up before getting into this, I’ll leave you with the fantastic Jenny Han tweet.
YA contemporary is dead??
— Jenny Han (@jennyhan) May 11, 2017
According to this, and to many conversations I have seen, someone was saying that YA contemporary is dead. If I had been eating something when I read that, I probably would have swallowed wrong and wouldn’t be writing this post. Okay, I’m probably being overdramatic here, but you get the idea. It seems SO, well, crazy to say such a thing because how could young adult contemporary books be dead when they are real, here, in the publishing market, even hitting the New York Times Bestsellers list with a bang for so many weeks straight?! (yes, The Hate U Give, I’m looking at you, though I haven’t been able to read you yet. I know, I’m so failing here.)
This tweet, these thoughts, made me feel a bit angry – but I also found out that they offered the perfect excuse for me to flail at my favorite genre again, something which I haven’t done for a very long time. Okay, maybe I do it regularly, but I can’t help it. So, to people daring to think that young adult contemporary is dead, I shall provide you with a small list of why it is so. very. much. alive. Blood pumping, adrenaline rushing and everything.
There has been an ongoing battle for more diversity in young adult books. Battle is probably not the right word here, to be honest: we should not have to fight for something like that. ANYWAY let’s move on from that and recognize how fabulous it is to see more diversity in books: characters from different countries, background, nationalities and sexualities, overall just BEING HUMAN and more representative each day of ALL the young adults and overall of the diversity of the world. It’s there, it’s happening and it’s not stopping anytime soon.
How could a genre where people actually recognize themselves more and more slowly decrease?
CHARACTERS: AN INFINITE SUBJECT
If fantasy allows us to get lost in new worlds, contemporary often focus on character-development and are the books where characters’ voices shine, grow and change with every page you turn and as the story evolves. Where universes, dystopian societies and fantasy stories can wear out with time, as seen with the dystopian genre these last few years, characters never get old and so does stories where characters are put in the center.
I’m not saying that some genres are dead, don’t get me wrong. All genres shine bright, wear out a little bit, evolve, come back full force. I just think that characters definitely are infinite, just like people in this world.
If someone was reading The Hunger Games in the 1800’s, they definitely would not understand the message it tries to pass through. The overwhelming presence of reality shows and its excess and violence, making this a show for everyone to watch when lives at at stakes. Or at least, maybe it would take on a different dimension, since society is not the same at that time.
If, in contemporary books, you obviously see an evolution to the world the characters are in, with new technologies, social media and their increasing presence finding their way through the pages, the life they lead is relevant and relatable for the most part – unlike the fantasy words we sometimes get lost in. Contemporary books, whether they’re old or new, always find some kind of resonance in the world we are currently living and overall by the experience of life characters are going through. It’s life after all and life is always relevant.
Contemporary books also allow to explore so many different, important and accurate themes in our everyday lives. From the sweet romance to the complications of it. From family and parental issues to supportive casts of friends and the difficulties of friendships at times. Harder topics such as violence, bullying, abuse, self-harm and more. Themes you can relate to, feel, themes that are not getting old anytime soon.
If this post mostly focuses on contemporary, I am not saying that fantasy, sci-fi and any genre in young adult books have these kind of things in their pages, nor am I saying that they are dead or on their way there. In the publishing industry, things change, grow, evolve. For instance, dystopia had its time to shine and now it as bit on the back of the shelves, it’s still there and ready to come back. Just like any genre, really.
Contemporary is so very much alive and will keep on growing, just like any genre in the young adult category, mainly because we keep on feeding them with our passion and love within the community and outside of it. And let me tell you, it’s not stopping anytime soon.
This post was inspired by the twitter “ya contemporary is dead” small talk that happened a couple days ago.
Do you think one genre within the young adult category is currently “shining” brighter than others?
What’s your favorite genre and what makes you keep on going back for it everytime? Tell me all about it!