September 3, 2011

10 Stereotypes in YA Fiction - guest post

Today's post is by Rhiannon Paille, author of a new series, Ferryman and the Flame.   Her book FLAME OF SURRENDER (The Ferryman and The Flame #1) comes out November 1st, 2011.  

Stereotypes ... intriguing.  See if you agree with the ones Rhiannon has listed.  If you think of others, please leave a comment.

Top 10 Stereotypes in Young Adult Fiction
guest post Rhiannon Paille
I’m only one person, and I might not read every YA book out there, but in the ones I have picked up on, these are the common themes I’m always seeing.
10) High School
Why is it always set in High School? I can’t vouch for every other writer out there, and this doesn’t skim every book, but most of them deal with High School. I have to say, I liked the ones that weren’t set in that monotonous death trap.
9) New Hot Guy at High School
In the first or second chapter, some crazy hot guy graces the pages and the best friend of the female protagonist is like, “OMG HE’S SO HOT!” Followed by a lot of squeeing and the female protagonist hiding in embarrassment or shame.
*raises eyebrow*
8) Girl is a danger magnet
Female protagonist is saved by male hotness (I dunno if he’s a protagonist yet, I mean he comes off all dangerous and swanky and I’m like, he could be committing identity fraud for all I know.) And the female is always slipping on a banana peel, careening down stairs, or something to that effect.
FYI: Guilty as charged although . . . in my defense, it was at a waterfall . . .
Also, loved Moira Young’s waterfall scene in Blood Red Road, THAT was pure genius in terms of male saving female . . .
7) Some council finds Girl / Boy to tell them who he/she is
This always makes me cringe. It’s like, the female protagonist is going along and then bam! Her parents or some mysterious creepy dude comes up and says “Chloe? We’ve been looking for you, come with us please.” Follow it up with a whole lot of info dump and all of a sudden she’s part of some elite force of super human mutant ninja turtles and this birthright was hidden from her blah blah blah.
FYI: Also guilty as charged, but I have reasons for that and it’s not like Krishani’s ancestors come to find him, he ends up going to them but still . . .
6) The bad guy is obvious
He’s like the quiet nerd or the guy that lurked around the hallway, the guy who showed up at the wrong time, the love triangle dude, you get the idea. This guy is always around and he has a few lines and he even comes off as a friend sometimes, and then no, he’s not a friend, he’s really the ugly evil character.
5) The bad guy is a lame choice and does nothing for the plot
You know, Tom Culpeper was one of my favorite villains because he was useful. Others have been there just because someone needs to be bad.
FYI: Guilty as charged, although the Valtanyana are scary in their own right and the whole story wouldn’t work if nobody cared about owning the flames you know
4) The female protagonist is the chosen one, one in all the world chosen to fight against the forces of evil. She is the Slayer.
Oh sorry, I forgot this wasn’t an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but in a lot of books, the females are inundated to some rank of warrior class and told that it’s their job to fight against the things that go bump in the night.
3) He’s “dangerous but sexy”
And we’re back to every guy in fiction. I mean it, every guy in fiction. The only saving grace of this poor stereotype is Jace, who knows he’s the ultimate hot guy and doesn’t mind telling people about it every chance he gets. Mirror mirror on the wall, we know who is the hottest of them all.
2) Some teenager is hundreds of years old (or a vampire, or an immortal, or has some seriously awesome past life memory recall ability)
Yeah . . . apparently in these characters age doesn’t necessarily mean maturity. I also sometimes wonder why someone hundreds of years old would be interested in a teenager. (Because that’s a whole new level of robbing the cradle)
1) Someone has “powers”
*headdesk* Every book I read has someone learning that they can shapeshift, or teleport, or see ghosts, or see the future, or hear thoughts or make things move with their mind, etc. etc.
FYI: Guilty as charged although, my characters don’t think that what they are and what they can do is cool, quite the opposite, it’s scary, overwhelming, it comes with a crapload of responsibility they’re not ready for and it means they can’t be together. Plain put, it sucks, which is sort of what I remember of my childhood and finding out I could see ghosts and read minds and feel other people’s emotions. 

More about Rhiannon:  Rhi was never a normal girl. She tried, but she couldn’t get rid of the visions, the voices in her head, and the hallucinations. When she was on the edge of crazy, someone pulled her back and explained it all. She wasn’t insane. She was psychic, really psychic, too psychic. Her life was an urban fantasy wrapped in a paranormal romance and served with a side of horror. To escape her everyday weirdness she began writing fantasy. She frequents twitter and facebook, but if you really want to get to know her you should visit her site:


RhiannonPaille said...

Aw thanks for the support! I'm sooo sad nobody posted to this! (Apparently nobody cares or nobody has anything to add . . . ) either way thank you for being awesome!

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

OMG! These stereotypes are dead on. I couldn't help but giggle.

My favorite? #7 A picture popped in my head and I couldn't help but laugh.

I love this post, but am a bit tired of these scenarios appearing in book after book.