I’ve read a lot of tween/YA books. I am only 23, after all! I’ve noticed one thing that they all have in common: they’re all written by full-fledged adults. There’s nothing wrong with that, but have you ever wondered why that’s so? Each time I pick up a book at the library or bookstore, I can’t help but think of how there’s a gap between the audience and the age of the actual authors.
I’ve queried a couple of books to various agents (all of which, turned me down. But such is the game of publishing) and understand that it’s because my books didn’t exactly “fit the trend” of what’s been selling like hot cakes. Okay, so what? Everyone has different opinions. That’s why people read different books, listen to different music, etc. But that’s not the point of my argument.
I know that EL James has been receiving loads of crap from her 50 Shades series due to the apparent abuse in the books. That, I totally understand. I personally wouldn’t want to encourage girls my age or younger that it’s okay to be submissive and in a similar relationship to that of Ana and Christian. I also noticed that she’s been slammed for the nature of her writing.
Yes, those books AREN’T meant for young adult readers. But you know what is? Anna Todd’s After series, which started out as a One Direction fan fic on Wattpad. When I first heard about the story two years ago, I didn’t want to read it simply because everyone else in the 1D fandom was (yes, I’m a fan and have been since 2011). And then…I saw a lot of people complain about how After romanticized an abusive relationship.
That’s not right, I thought to myself. Teenage girls dominate their fan base and they’re reading this because it explicitly showcases Harry Styles’ character in a sexual manner (disregarding the abuse, of course!).
After a while, I finally decided to read it and see why everyone on my dashboard was talking about it and clambering for more. When I did finally muster the energy to read After, I was not only shocked, but disappointed. I was bored with the first 30 chapters because they were so bland. Not only that, but the writing was atrocious. Despite that, I kept on reading to fully see the hype and form a proper opinion on the book. The way that Hardin uses Tessa is just appalling, yet she always manages to crawl back to him because they apparently love each other. Okay. What message is that sending to the girls who’ve read this story multiple times?
I’ve honestly read better fan fiction that could potentially be amazing books if they change their characters’ names and do a bit more editing. 15 year olds know how to write better relationships in their books than Edward and Bella and Tessa and Hardin (his name in the published works). Hell, they can even write better books in general.
I’ve had a lot of self-doubt, myself, about pushing to be published at my age. Who would publish a book written by someone in their early 20’s if they’re not famous? Who will read this if I don’t have a following?
But I did push. And even though my friends aren’t expert publishers and writers, themselves, they know how a story should be told and what good writing is. They’ve read my stuff and told me that my book had the potential to be big because of the way I truthfully told the story. Biased? Maybe, but they’re in my audience age group. That’s all the reassurance I need and what any other teen or young adult needs because we know what we want to read. It’s just too unfortunate that normal people my age are being sided by the Youtubers and other famous people around my age in our mission to be published.
We’re just as capable as the JK Rowlings, the John Greens, and Stephanie Meyers in the world. We’re just oppressed because we’re “not ready” and most likely “too young” for the publishing world to handle right now.