Young adult literature lacks realistic fiction

Hellen Chung, Opinion Editor

While much of a teenager’s days are spent pondering over the books that school requires us to read, many of the books that they read in their own time (for fun) are almost as bad. The typical teenager gravitates toward the Young Adult (YA) section, anticipating that the plot will be more relatable. However, books that supposedly represent the adolescent experience are unrealistic. 

Generally speaking, many YA books based in high school sound like they’ve been derived from the author’s Wattpad account with inspiration from celebrities such as Jungkook and Harry Styles. Some actually are; After and The Upside of Falling originally came from Wattpad, so if you value quality, I’d say stay away. It’s hard to differentiate YA literature from fanfiction at this point. 

The arbitrary use of name origins and meanings, alongside the unwarranted plot twists, define the YA high school genre and its inability to capture real teenage life. Nothing is as dramatic or meaningful in high school as books and movies make it seem. 

The protagonists in these books illustrate every teenager’s life like some sort of entertaining story with trouble brewing at all times. Everything is blown out of proportion; the problems that most adolescents experience at this time of their life are not that severe. For example, YA high schools exaggerate the definition of popularity and the invisible social hierarchy. It doesn’t necessarily exist in a real school. 

Of course, everyone develops their own cliques, but the groups are not as divided as books make it seem. Cohabitation is not as rare as you think. Everyone is somewhat friendly, or at least they’re not biting each other’s heads off. 

Much of the drama that surrounds YA high schools is also attributed to parties that are almost always thrown on Friday nights or weekends. Although it would make sense that a house filled with intoxicated teenagers would stir the pot, I’ve rarely heard about them in real life. Maybe it’s because I don’t hang around that crowd, but the crazy parties that apparently characterize adolescence are a myth to me. 

Furthermore, I can admit that because high schools are crowded with hormonal teenagers, drama arises in the romance department to some degree; however, not every high schooler’s mind is filled with the desire to date. Therefore, it is also not necessary to include romance where it doesn’t need to be. 

So many books aimlessly throw around romance tropes like the life-altering summer makeover or the attraction between opposites. While it may be entertaining, these tropes can also create unrealistic expectations and conventionalize unhealthy or even toxic relationships. 

YA books that specifically take place in high school are some of the worst types. The conflicts are shallow; popularity, cliques, and romance are all common topics within YA that just don’t resonate with a typical teenager. We, teenagers, are simply trying to survive the halls of high school, mind our own businesses, and find some relatable reading.