Skip to main content

Harmful Effects of Current Y.A. Writings

Eulia Lev, a scholar who studies in Creative Writing, Phycology, and Philosophy. An individual to hopes to bring awareness to society.

From the 2008 Twilight Adaptation

From the 2008 Twilight Adaptation

The Harmful Effects of Current Y.A. Writings

Books marketed to young adult audiences have remained some of the most popular pieces of literature today, but the term Y.A. is so loosely thrown around in modern times, and the classification of young audiences is alarmingly vague. With more publishers and authors pushing books into a Y.A. genre in the hopes of popularity, it now feels as if any storyline revolving around a teenage protagonist is suddenly labeled as young adult literature, even when it’s not well suited.

Toxic Tropes in Y.A. Literature

In recent years there has been a clear trend in the types of books which gain popularity among teenage audiences. This noticeable trend in literature entails extremely questionable narratives and topics present within the writings of influential authors. Some narratives and topics throughout the works of multiple Y.A. bestsellers include, the romanization of dysfunctional love, aspects of rape culture, disguised misogyny, degrading characterizations of women, forced trauma, unrealistic beauty/body standards, and the under or misrepresentation of many communities. Everything just listed could prove detrimental to the thought process of young impressionable audiences, yet these toxic traits have been so masked within fictional writings and so normalized within society that authors repeatedly get away with marketing these books to audiences as young as 13 years old.

For example the heavily praised Y.A. bestselling series “A Court of Thrones and Roses” included a scene in which one of the main love interests drugs the protagonist then proceeds to objectify her body by dressing her up in provocative clothing and having others touch her when she is in no state of mind to object (for plot context he did this to enrage the protagonist’s other love interest and he later ends up being the in a romantic relationship with the protagonist despite what he did to her earlier in the story). Many fans and book fanatics have stood by problematic authors like this, constantly overlooking the toxic characteristics of many Y.A. books and instead praising the authors for their innovative or romantic plot.

Shara J Mass’s “A Court of Thorns and Roses” is a perfect example of harmful tropes within young adult literature

Shara J Mass’s “A Court of Thorns and Roses” is a perfect example of harmful tropes within young adult literature

How to Combat the Toxic Portrayal of Real World Issues in Young Adult Fiction

Avoidance is no solution. While older fans may casually overlook the damaging aspects of Y.A. stories, younger fans are not afforded the same luxury. The young minds of middle schoolers, high schoolers, and college students are still developing their ideals, beliefs, and tricky romantic relations. There is a clear issue when older authors introduce dangerous subjects glamorized and masked within books marketed to young adults. This is dangerous because, the romanization of any real world issue could negatively influence the way an impressionable audience may later view said issue.

Authors need to be more aware of the content they write when categorizing a book as Y.A. content, and we as an audience should be more aware of the books we promote to teenagers. There needs to be a change in the reading and writing community as a whole, starting in the way we label and consume young adult literature.

Authors and publishers should be held accountable for their continuous exploitation of teenage audiences. The most proactive solution to this prevalent issue would be to reevaluate the term young adult. Rather than promoting a book to a vaguely classified audience we should market books to individuals based on age appropriate material. It’s obvious that a middle school student should not be reading the same material as a student in college. It’s about time we protect the minds of younger generations by restricting the harmful content that Y.A. authors would uncaringly expose them to in the name of their self indulgent pieces and higher revenue.

More Information

If you wish to learn more on the topic of harmful Y.A. Writings here are some further sources :

Related Articles