Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Breakfast with the Bookie: Is YA Fiction "Trashy"?

Breakfast with the Bookie is a irregular feature here at Badass Bookie. Every other Wednesday morning, let's all grab our teas and coffees to gather and discuss and share our opinions! Everyone is welcome to join and make sure you leave a comment to state your opinion. Don't be shy!

This Week's Topic - Is YA Fiction "Trashy"?

Warning: Rant Ahead. 

Recently I joined a book club. Well really, it's just a group of friends who like to read. It's not a book club in the traditional sense like we pick a book to read each month and discuss it. It's more like we all read our own books and discuss them with the other members. In this book club, I'm the only member who reads strictly YA Fiction and other members of the book club have been making comments like "Lisa, all you read is trashy YA fiction" and "at least I have good taste in books and don't read trashy YA fiction".

Now I'm all for making it a joke that YA fiction is "Trashy" because let's face it some of the YA fiction out there is pretty trashy but the joke gets fucking old after the first 5 times. The generalisation that all YA books is trashy pisses me off because YA fiction is NOT trashy.

Anyone who says "at least I have good taste in books" and reads Classics clearly does not have good taste in books because you're just reading books other people have classified worthy to be read. You don't get to fucking judge people who read YA fiction and call it "trashy". You haven't read enough YA fiction to make that statement. It's true that in today's market,there are books about absolutely nothing but YA Fiction is the most popular genre of books to be read by both adults and children. It's the ONLY genre of books that has had a 150% sales jump in the last six years. More and more readers worldwide are reading YA fiction.

Some of those "classics" that you read were Young Adult fiction once including books such as -

- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- Little Women by Louise May Alcott
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Just because YA fiction is popular doesn't mean it is trashy. The whole point of YA fiction is to provide entertainment, it's not meant to provoke thought or have some highly intellectual backstory. I'm not saying that there aren't trashy YA fiction out there because I have read my fair share of completely ridiculous marketed YA romances but the majority of books have something more to offer.

As a YA reviewer, I work with many publishers. I'm lucky enough to be able to read books before they get published or as soon as they come out. This also means I read more YA "trash" then most people because it is my job to separate the "trash" from the decent. I don't think anyone has the right to judge me by what I read and how I review books. I'm quite a generous reviewer, I prefer to see the good in books than the bad so just because I liked a book and you didn't doesn't make it "trash". In fact, there are hundreds of other people in the world who agree with my opinion. If you don't like the way I review and the rating I give books, that's perfectly fine because this is not YOUR opinion it's MINE and I must be doing something right if there are people reading my reviews and taking recommendations from all around the world. If my recommendations don't work out for you, then don't take my word for it. It's as simple as that.

So to all you YA haters out there, get off your fucking high horse. Until you have read as many YA novels has the rest of YA community, you do not have the right to call YA fiction "trash". Until you have stopped reading books other people have picked for you and started finding books for yourself, you do not have the right to call YA fiction "trash". Until you have become a recommender and not a recommendee, you have no right to call YA fiction "trash".

So after that long rant about YA fiction and ignorant snobs, I leave you with the following message.

Next time someone tells you YA fiction is "trashy". 

This is what you going to tell them -

This is what you're going to do - 

Do you think YA Fiction is "trashy"? What's your message to all those haters out there? Leave your opinions, comments and rants in the comments below! I would love to hear what the rest of ma YA people think! 

Badass Bookie xx


  1. Totally agree. Since I left uni I've been reading almost exclusively YA fiction. Although I like some classics, they can be hard to read and I have to be in the right mood. YA fiction is so adventurous right now- I love all the fantasy, supernatural and sci-fi elements, but they don't tend to crop up so much in adult fiction, which is dominated by crime dramas and romance. Admittedly I've read a few YA books that were poorly written and a bit lame in general, but on a whole the writing is eloquent and engaging and the ideas are fresh and exciting. People shouldn't judge until they've tried for themselves.

  2. "You don't get to fucking judge people who read YA fiction and call it 'trashy.' You haven't read enough YA fiction to make that statement."


  3. Lisa.
    My favorite daughter.
    I have this to say: FUCK. YES.

    THIS: "Anyone who says "at least I have good taste in books" and reads Classics clearly does not have good taste in books because you're just reading books other people have classified worthy to be read."

    AMEN. Generalising any genre as entirely 'trashy' shows you're ignorant, narrow minded, and arrogant.

    Romance is trashy. Really? Jane Eyre is romance. All of Jane Austen is. And read some Loretta Chase. Lord of Scoundrels makes me proud to be a chick.

    Action is trashy. Really? Bond is action, and they're classics. Adventure novels of any yoke are action.

    YA is trashy? Now this makes my BLOOD BOIL.
    Harry Potter is not trashy. It's YA.
    His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman are extraordinary, intellectual, and challenging.
    The Narnia Chronicles are YA. NOT. TRASHY.
    Catcher in the Rye, Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird. All classics. All YA.
    Look at John Green and Hannah Harrington huge or small, writing books that challenge and inspire, that tackle tough issues.
    Look at the lyrical perfection of Laini Taylor's prose, and find me an 'adult' author who writes as beautifully. Would you liek to look at patrick Rofthuss? He blurbed her book. As did the NY times.
    Think of authors you've never heard of like J.H. Trumble tackling GLBT rights, equality and bullying with heartbreaking honesty and brutality.

    Really, sweetheart? You think fluffy Austen romances aren't 'trashy' compared to a book that has the ability to change lives, perceptions, and possibly even save someone?

    I believe that one of the NY Times writers just named The Fault in Our Stars one of the best books of 2012. And it's 'trashy' YA fic.

    Go figure.


    You. Are. Amazing.

  4. No. Just no. I've been made fun of for reading YA books and I'm still in college. I don't read "Adult" books because I'm not interested, not because there's anything wrong with them.

    Just like there's nothing wrong with YA books - there's a little bit of everything out there. Fantasy and Dystopian and amazing contemporaries. Sarah Dessen, John Green, and the like "trashy"? I think not. Sure, there's an overabundance of love triangles sometimes, but not every Adult book is a well-written piece of literary genius.

  5. I hate the condescending attitude towards YA. I adore it so what haters say is irrelevant.

    And to say that it is trashy?

    I love the classics too but there are so many amazing YA books out there, with beautiful writing. It's a shame that people are so judgmental towards this genre.

    But haters gonna hate!

  6. This. THIS.

    This is why I joined the blogging community; I have too many people in my life that think this way and I needed fellow readers who understand what makes YA so amazing.

    There is plenty of YA out there that is "fluff" but that does not equal "trash." Besides, many classic books are pretty much just for entertainment as well and do not automatically become deeper and more meaningful because they were written one hundred years ago.

    And what about the thousands of YA novels that take on tough issues, showing teens going through them that they are not alone, offering life lessons from the safety of a book, giving perspective into very real things that happen to adolescents. Those books matter (not that "fun" books don't) and need to be recognized as such.

    Thare are so many wonderful classics, but the fact that they are classics is not what makes them so good. Some YA is better than some classics, and some classics are better that some YA. People will have different opinions about which specific novels are superior to others, but any real reader will agree on one thing: books should be judged by the quality of their content, not the stereotypes about their genre.

    What ignorant, easily manipulated, close-minded people.

  7. I agree. Every time someone asked me what I was reading and I would explain they would get this look on their face like 'wtf'. Now when someone asks I just come out and say 'It's probably not your type of book'. People shouldn't judge!

  8. I agree. I see it as who cares what they gotta say. If people dont like it i say im not reading to please you i read to please me.. urrggghh people judge 2 much...
    YA all the way!!!!!

  9. People shouldn't judge, especially if they don't read the YA genre. How can you judge something you've never even tried or don't know well?

    YA is not trashy. It's entertaining, yes, but it's SO much more than that. YA is inspirational and moving and thought provoking. You might not get that with every YA as some books are just for enjoyment and FUN but look at Hannah Harrington's Speechless or David Levithans's Every Day and tell me they don't tackle tough issues like bullying and sexuality or inspire readers.

    You know what? The important thing is that your reading. Not only that but taking the time to review books and sharing your thoughts with the world. In today's society, not enough people read, unless it's for school and required reading. So to see a teen reading and actually enjoying it is AWESOME and should be rewarded with a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. If you find happiness in classics, Adult, YA or even re-reading childhood favourites, I say let them be. The important thing is that there READING.

    Amazing discussion! You go Lisa! ♥

  10. Bahahahah this post. Love it. Especially the gifs at the end. XD

    I totally know where you're coming from. My mom hates all the YA fiction that I read however she refers to it as my "cult fiction" which I guess is nicer than calling it trash. She's basically implying the same thing though. I think that it's true that a portion of YA is trashy. There are always gonna be books that are less than stellar and the Twilight phenomenon has done nothing to help the case for YA novels. The thing is there is a LOT of fantastic YA out there. I mean look at John Green's most recent book The Fault in Our Stars. It was just named Time Magazine's #1 book of 2012. OUT OF ALL THE BOOKS OF 2012. If that doesn't prove that not all YA is trash I don't know what does.

  11. I could write a whole comment about this, but the only thing I can say is: I TOTALLY agree with you. Why do people always feel the need to judge someone else? Like I care if you read The wurthering heights, while I enjoy The iron fey. Does that make you a 'better' reader and me a 'trashy' reader? Books are made for one reason: entertainment, so it doesn't matter if I find my excitement in Divergent or in Jane Eyre. Bwhaaaah, I hate haters.


    1. MEL! EXACTLY! And I think that judgement is sad because you know what? I love Jane Eyre as much as I love Divergent. They're both extraordinary books. The idea that I should be embarrased to admit I read YA in a conversation with my peers is as ridiculous as admitting I really want to see Pitch Perfect as much as I want to see Skyfall at the cinema. It's absurd. And you said it a lot more levelly and eloquently than I could have :)

  12. 1. I love this quote:

    "They’ve been very disorienting, these last few weeks. I see now that dismissing YA books because you’re not a young adult is a bit like refusing to watch thrillers on the grounds that you’re not a policeman or a dangerous criminal, and as a consequence I’ve discovered a previously ignored room at the back of the bookstore that’s filled with masterpieces I’ve never heard of." — Nick Hornby, in Shakespeare Wrote for Money

    2. I also hate it when people dismiss all YA Paranormal Romance books because of Twilight when they've never even read Twilight or have never read anything PR other than Twilight.

  13. What gets me is when someone reads a YA book for the first time and says, "It was surprisingly good, for YA." It's great that they had a good experience with YA (though why the disclaimer?), but sad that they obviously went into the book expecting it to be bad because it is YA. I don't go into highbrow literature expecting to dislike it even though I am usually not a fan. I wait until I am at least 50 pages into any book before beginning to form an opinion about it, and I never disregard an entire genre because of one or two bad experiences, or, in some cases, no experiences at all.

    I spend all day thinking. When I get home from work, I want to escape. Call me a trashy reader, but books that are meant to be incredibly thought provoking often leave me exhausted. YA books more often provide an escape for me than "adult" books.

  14. Hear hear!

    Spot on with every point on that rant!

  15. I really don't understand this elitist attitude people have, like YA is something that's beneath them.

    If you start spouting off classics like Jane Eyre, does that mean I can quote from Sartre and be a "better" reader than you?

    Who decided which books were the benchmark with which to compare every other novel?

    If I handed an ignorant reader a "YA" title and an "Adult Fiction" title, without the covers to distinguish which was marketed to which age group, could most people tell the difference? I don't think so.

    Sure some YA reads are complete trash - but isn't that true of all categories?

    Just because you read from the "Classics" section doesn't guarantee that all of your reads will be tasteful.


  16. Oh my God, you are so right and it just boils my blood. I mean, everyone has their own genres they love to read but calling one genre trashy is like bad. So bad. I just don't get why people are so turn-your-nose-up-at annoying. It's not everyone has the tendency to read classics, it takes me weeks to finish classics because I find it hard to understand but I'm a fairly fast reader and I love reading other books more. Is there is a whole industry out there and more books than ever are being published in a single genre that is YA then why in the world would it be trashy.

    I love how you say that some of the classics today were YA at some point in their published life. But being judged on the basis of what I read, it's my biggest pet peeve and I absolutely hate it. I am getting over it though 'cause I know what they're missing. *shrugs*

  17. From your post, it is apparent that someone who reads trashy YA fiction regularly has their brains degenerated over time and cannot even write coherently and cogently. The ample use of vulgarity in the post and some of the comments further illustrate the point that YA fiction breeds philistine thinking and coarseness of speech.
    As for real classics like To "Kill a Mockingbird", these are termed modern classics, never labelled as YA. Only ignorant imbeciles mistaken classics written for a younger audience as YA fiction. YA fiction is low-brow and plebeian, and no self-respecting writer wants their books termed as such.
    In addition, good books are not limited to classics. Many literary fiction books are being published every year. If you find such books to be difficult to digest and only read YA fiction because they are easy, that just shows how lazy and unintellectual you are. Only crass people like you have to resort to vulgar language and rants to prove a point. How very classy of you!

    1. Which amish community do you belong to Anonymous?

      How dare you come onto my blog, post as anonymous and insult me, my readers and YA fiction. There are so many flaws in your argument I don't even know where to start picking, just because you use a few fancy words doesn't mean you're well educated or that you know what the fuck you're talking about.

      I don't know which high school you dropped out of but YA is a genre that dates back hundreds of years. Just because Young Adult fiction has revolutionised over the years doesn't mean there wasn't YA fiction through the 18th and 19th century. And FYI "To Kill A Mockingbird" Is YA fiction you twat.

      YA is one of the largest and most popular genres in the market today. I dare you, I DARE YOU to tell someone like John Green that his books suck. That his books breed " philistine thinking and coarseness of speech". No self respecting HUMAN posts comments like this insulting everybody as anonymous.

      And no one said that good books are only limited to classic. Just like no one ever said that all YA fiction is trash. It's people like you who piss me off, close minded and pathetic snobs who hide behind their computer screens and insult everyone else. Get off your high horse princess.

      Cowardly people like you don't deserve my respect. YOU are the reason I have to write these rants. And you don't like vulgar language? Well FUCK YOU.

      Please get off my blog.

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