I think I'm going to write a book. I've always been nervous about this, but now I have nothing to fear. If looking at the books that have been released in the last 6 months in Young Adult is any indication, all I need to do is find a generic story and random name generator it to death.
"Lindsay Bubblebutt was living a quiet life in Tahiti when the next day at school a short, fat, ugly boy appears. Immediately, Lindsay is drawn to Eugene Brownmouth and discovers he has a terrible secret - he is a gollem and can control people's cars!
But things are worse - life outside their little compound is going crazy. Together, Lindsay and Eugene must bind together and see if they can keep the island from floating off the end of the earth!"
While that particular "cover blurb" was mostly tongue-in-cheek, the fact remains that many of the young adult books sound exactly like the above. And to be honest, I'm sick of it.
I'm sick of picking up a book to find that it is a badly written romance between the protagonist and whatever male icon the author thinks is likely to draw the most teenaged girls.
I'm sick of dystopias that spend more time on the main couple making out than building a world, an actual dystopia.
I'm sick of writing that caters to the lowest common denominator.
I'm sick of plot twists that are written in chalk on a sidewalk 10 miles before it arrives.
I'm sick of characters that are 1 dimensional, that have no personality, or that are hideous cliches.
I'm sick of white girls and white boys in a white world with the token minority thrown in to appease those clamoring for more equality.
I'm sick of how the female main character hates on other women and doesn't "understand" how to be friends with those strange creatures called women - WHICH SHE IS.
You would think such a tirade should have been the product of a really bad book, such as "Masque of the Red Death" or "Danse Macabre". No, it isn't. The reason I'm writing this isn't because of those two terrible books - it's because of a mediocre book I'm currently reading, "Arclight".
"Arclight" isn't a bad book; it's got some elements that are really strong. I admire the interesting direction the author took the world building, and I like how the opening scenes are legitimately scary. Also, there are non-white characters, and the main couple have gone 160+ pages without making out. But this is faint praise; I could list many other books that can do the same thing AND manage to keep my attention.
The fact is "Arclight" at this point is no different than 90% of young adult novels in bookstores. A girl meets a mysterious guy, learns some stuff, and does some stuff when she isn't busy whining about something. The writing is better, sure, the characters are moderately better, but the concept is still the same.
I don't know if I am just bad at picking young adult right now or I need to take a long break from the genre to reinvigorate me. All I know is I'm tired of picking up a book where I can pretty much predict or guess what is going to happen pages before it does. I'm tired of seeing the same situations and characters with different names and in slightly different genres. I want something UNIQUE and DIFFERENT, something COMPELLING and INTRIGUING. Is that too much to ask???