Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Breakfast with the Bookie - My Love-Hate Relationship with YA Contemporary

Breakfast with the Bookie is a new feature that I'm introducing on the blog! So, every Wednesday morning ( or night, depending on where in the world you are) I will be posting a discussion/issue post that you can read along with your morning cup of coffee!

Discussions can range anywhere from advice, pet peeves, Q&A's, movie castings, authors etc etc. Every Wednesday! Join in and let's discuss!

Anyway Today's Topic - My Love-Hate Relationship with YA Contemporary

YA is a fairly broad genre or more correctly age group. It's becoming increasingly popular among readers especially adults who a) read it because it's so much more interesting or b) makes them feel young again! For me, as a teenager, I can't imagine reading anything but YA! I mean sure, I read the occasional PNR or UF but I never stray too far from YA.

I not a fussy reader. If it's YA and fiction, there's a fairly good chance that I'll pick it up sometime in my life, just because. That said, I lean toward paranormal and Contemporary books with romance. Paranormal is my favourite genre, I live for stories about things that go bump in the night. Paranormal and I live a peaceful life where our love for each other is strong and we have many happy years in front of us.

Contemporary? eh ... it's complicated. I have always loved reading but since 2009 I have become an addict. I would like to say that it has nothing to do with Twilight does. It was Twilight that introduced me to Paranormal. It was Twilight that lead me to Mortal Instruments which in turn led me to blogging. Twilight let my love for Paranormal blossom but it also turned my love relationship with Contemporary into a love-hate relationship.

You see, before when I just loved reading, I read HEAPS on contemporary, it outnumbered any other genre on my bookshelf, it was my poison. But since Twilight I have explored deeper into the Contemporary genre. I discovered that there was a darker side to it...the side that I hate. the side that involves 'issues', death and depression.

Books like 'Wintergirls' by Laurie Halse Anderson, 'Living Dead Girl' by Elizabeth Scott and 'If I Stay' by Gayle Forman can all be classified as the 'dark side' of Contemporary. Although, I actually found 'If I Stay' and 'Living Dead Girl' quite good so I probably shouldn't have used them as examples but nevertheless, I hate this type of Contemporary. It's ..ugly, I don't think that we should find any enjoyment in reading about some 16yr old with problems. It challenges everything about fiction, where's enjoyment when we are reading depressing novels about drugs, suicide and abuse?

Books like 'Anna and the French Kiss' by Stephanie Perkins, ' The Lonely Hearts Club' by Elizabeth Eulberg and ' She's So Dead to Us' by Kieran Scott are all classified as the 'light side' of Contemporary. Nothing heavy - cute, romantic and just so much easier to enjoy! I loved all of these books and spend time even now looking for books similar to them! Sure, some of the ideas are a little far-fetched and maybe a little too romantic to be anything close to reality but I love this type of Contemporary because it's fiction! It's enjoyable, it's what a books should be like!

So there you have it my love-hate relationship with Contemporary. What about you? Is it just me or do anyone else out there have a love- hate relationship with a genre??? Maybe I'm just weird...

Badass Bookie xx


  1. I admit most of the YA contemp I read is 'light'. But I still like to read the 'darker' titles because I don't (fortunately) experience those types of problems, so it gives me an insight. Also, it gives people who are experiencing those problems something to relate to (or just make them hate their problems even more I suppose?).

  2. im a HUGE contemporary reader.
    to me, as long as the book is REAListic, ill read it. thats just me, though, i suppose. i dont mind reading dark stories, because come on, the world isnt a bright, happy place. but of course, everyone's got their own liks & dislikes, so yeah.
    i dont know if youve read fixing delilah by sarah ockler, but i just finished it yesterday and thik its a perfect example of a great YA contemp. it's cute and fluffy and at the same time, has a bit of heavy content too. i adoooored it.

  3. I adore contemporary, and while I know what you mean, I do admit to reading a lot of the darker side of contemporary. I don't know why, but I feel like it can give you an insight into a person's life, reasons why people do things, stuff like that.
    But, there can be such a thing as too much...reading a lot of the darker contemporary can make me sort of depressed. But I view dark contemporary on the same level as dark paranormal. There's fluffy, funny paranormal, and then there's the more serious stuff, like "The Body Finder" and such. Many people consider that stuff dark, but I think it's all really based on what you like and find interesting!
    I loved your post though! :) Definitely would like to see more of Breakfast with the Bookie!

  4. I'm worried about reading contemporary, because of those dark ones. I'm kinda afraid lol, I don't want them to drain out my uhm, emotions. Or something. But some dark contemporary, like If I Stay, almost everyone read and loved it, I feel like I should be reading it, but I don't want to. LOL.

  5. I gotta say I'm a fan of the 'dark' contemporary books. While I love the romantic ones and the paranormal, there's something...I don't know, strong, about reading about the more serious issues. For me I think it's a split between morbid curiosity and my interest in psychology. I like learning what the characters are thinking and feeling when they act.
    Sometimes the books are really heavy but at the end you kind of stop, take a breath and realize not only the kinds of issues people go through but also how lucky you might be. Catharsis in a way.
    I like these conversations at breakfast! Great post and question :]

  6. I love going to the dark side! In fact, it's dark, realistic YA fiction that got me interested in reading more and more YA in the first place. I work with teens, and teen girls in particular tend to connect with these "issue" books. Though some are far-fetched, there are often shreds of truth that girls can latch on to. And then we can talk about their issues. Which I love. But, I am a sucked for a light book once and a while. Even darkness has to give way to sunlight every now and again...

  7. I don't mind the dark side of contemporary. I loved 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, for example. My problem is that I don't have time to read all that I'd like to so I generally read fantasy and paranormal.

  8. From your keyboard to the publisher's ears! I, too, enjoy reading (and writing) contemporary fiction that is more lighthearted. Not fake or untrue to real is, in some ways, truer to real life (a typical teenager's life) than the darker contemporary stuff. But, in general, publishers aren't buying...claiming the stories are "too quiet" to stand out in a crowded market.

  9. Wow, this is a fantastic idea for a new feature - I love it already!!!

    Hmm... I drift towards the paranormal and fantasy myself; but I guess in truth my favourite novels are dark paranormals. I find that reading about the darker things in life, the tougher decisions and whatnot in a paranormal setting gives me such an interesting outlook on life!

    That said, despite me not being a big contemporary reader, I still enjoy a good, light contemporary every now and again. I didn't expect to like Anna and the French Kiss, but I loved it and I think it made me realise that sometimes it's good to take a break from my normal reads just so I can appreciate them even more!

    I think when you ask why people would want to read about dark depressing issues, well, it's because people need to know about what's out there. Yes, sometimes it's psychologically difficult to read about suicide and death, but they are part of our society and it's important for people to understand them sothat maybe they can help prevent them.

    I really love this feature - it's great and I can't wait to see what next weeks discussion will be!!

  10. I tend to stray away from the YA Contemps, mostly because I'm not a huge fan of romance. Thing is, at the same time I'm a hopeless romantic! But I don't like reading about the goo-goo eyes and mushy stuff...cause it makes me remember my own sorry single self. Ugh.

  11. Now this post has me really curious about whether you'd like The Pull of Gravity because it's contemporary YA, not light and fluffy, but not dark either. I think it's sweet and funny and poignant and real, and I wonder where it might fall on your spectrum. Hmmm. Maybe I'll find out one day. *bites nails*