marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,
marycatelli
marycatelli

aesthetic observations on YA

There are certain situations that produce interesting effects in YA.  Wars.  Major and nasty conspiracies.  Large-scale disasters.

The problem is that
  1. YA novels feature young characters;
  2. Good novels have the characters carry out crucial roles in solving the main problem of the work;
  3. When a young person serves a crucial role in the fighting of a war, resisting a conspiracy, or working with a disaster, the event is normally a NASTY TERRIBLE THING -- even more so when the people dealing with it are adults.
  4. YA novels on the hold don't want to be more nasty and terrible than adult works on the same topic -- on the contrary.
When a YA novel features these events, there is an awful tendency toward (though not certainty of) a level of unreality.  Young characters serve crucial roles in dealing with events that are not as horrible as they logically ought to be.

Not always.  The older sorts of young characters work it more plausibly, especially if they are old enough to be a soldier, etc in real life.  Sometimes it is possible to finesse it by having the character play a crucial role behind the scenes, in a certain amount of safety.  But -- I've read a number of works with a certain degree of unreality to them because of this.
Tags: aesthetics, genre, plotting
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