The YA Handbook (Part One)

Monday, 18 February 2013

As promised here is the first part of the YA Handbook. The ultimate guide for creating the most stereotypical Young Adult novel in existence.

Rule One: Kill off one or both parents
As Seen In: Evermore, Series Of Unfortunate Events, The Hunger Games, The Vampire Diaries...
At least we can date vampires...
Have you ever read a YA book and wondered where the parents were while their teenagers were off hanging around with vampires or nearly being killed every other day? Then you remember that their parents were killed tragically in a car crash/doing the exact thing they always do. Their reckless behavior must be left over grief from their parents early demise, right?
Why do they do it? Because if the parents were around we, as readers, would start questioning their abilities as parents and we can't have that! So the solution is to just get rid of them so the children have excuses to rebel!

Rule Two: The Heroine has to be 'special'

As Seen In: Twilight, House of Night, Vampire Diaries, Need...

Have you noticed a common factor with the above books? If you haven't I'll help you out. Every book above has a heroine on my Top 10 worst female character's list. Coincidence? I think not! I believe the world is just not ready for a 'special' heroine, our jealousy would just be too much if there wasn't more negatives than positives about them. I mean look at Bella Swan, she has half the worlds teenage girls wishing they were her just so they could have Edward but imagine how huge that number would be if she actually had personality? Feminists everywhere hate her for setting women back twenty years but if they were on side... it doesn't bear thinking about.
Why do they do it? Because the world would explode if that many green eyed monsters came out when discussing Twilight, (which for many girls is about 95% of the time) so to prevent it the heroine is made horribly infuriating.

Friendless by choice?
Rule Three: The Heroine must not have any important relationships in her life other than the love interests
As Seen In: Twilight, Sweet Evil, Matched, Numbers, Mara Dyer... 
If YA books were accurate then the definition of love would be something along the lines of: 'A feeling which causes you to forget your friends and family exist so that you can stalk date someone who appears to hate you but is obviously as creepily obsessed in love with you as you are them'. 
Why do they do it? A far as I know being in love doesn't cause all of your friends and family to disappear so maybe the hero's 'get rid of them' - and hopefully will go onto rid the world of the soulless heroines highlighted in Rule Two.

Rule Four: Two guys must enter the heroine's life simultaneously (and be opposites) 
As Seen In: The Infernal Devices, Soul Screamers, Fallen, The Chemical Gardens, Vampire Academy...
You know the deal, there is coincidentally two new guys at school within days of each other or better yet the heroine is new to town and two guys immediately fall for her - normally for reasons I cannot fathom. These boys will always be opposites whether it's boring good guy vs hot bad boy or maybe hilarious vs serious. Either way the guys will always be polar opposites and the girl will always choose the one you don't want them to, or is that just me?
Why do they do it? I believe that the love triangle phenomenon came about when an author drafted two hero's and couldn't pick between them so just thought 'I may as well put them both in'. It's good in a way because everyone loves an underdog and for the underdog to exist we need an overdog.

Rule Five: Que mean girl/s
As Seen In: Morganville, Pretty Little Liars, Bloodlines, Before I Fall, Thirteen Reasons Why...
Anyone who claims not to have seen it lies!
No high school is complete without mean girls! They are normally cheerleaders but as long as they're blonde and Barbie like they can apply. This trend isn't as prominent as it once was and I can seriously say I miss it. I'm sick of everyone adoring the heroine!
Why do they do it? Since the success of Mean Girls I noticed the mean girls in YA increased too. I think it's physically impossible to display an American high school without cliques and mean girls because then whose going to spread gossip? Whose going to torture the wannabees? YA lit needs those catalysts to survive.

That's all for now but look out for Part Two next week and if you have any suggestions for the handbook voice them in the comments and I may put them in!

9 People dared to comment.:

Diantha Jones said...

Absolutely love this post! I'll be linking to it from my site :)

Natasha Zaleski said...

I enjoyed this post immensely. I can't want for the next installment.

Summer Khaleq said...

This is so true! Love your post :)

Jade Varden said...

Great post! I laughed and laughed.

Eustacia Tan said...

Loved this post! Sadly, all these cliches are true :/

I'm looking forward to the next part!


Gwynneth White said...

Brilliant. Can't wait for next week.

Anonymous said...

That was amazing! Absolutely loved it, so excited for the second half. :)
The boys usually have different colored hair too. And they have some weird type of history where they used to be best friends but now...

Anonymous said...

Great post - I think I liked your photo captions best:

Bella Swan - Friendless by choice?

Lemony Snicket Orphans - free to date vamps now!

Spot on with the cliches and I'm looking forward to YA Guide number 2 :)

Rita Webb said...

The love triangles drive me crazy. I always feel bad when someone gets hurt, and unfortunately, the girl can't pick both guys.

And to make it worse, she always picks the bad boy, and I always like the childhood friend.

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