Misc.

YA Books that I See Differently Now

Hi readers! If you’re a reader (and I’m assuming you are) and you are a part of a community (which you might be) the book community has an influence on what and how you read, whether you like it or not.

Today I’m going to share some books that I see differently than I used to. THAT BEING SAID, half of these will be books I used to love but now see negatively, and the other portion of this blog will have books that I used to think weren’t interesting (see my post here for other books that I don’t plan on reading) but now I love or want to read it soon!

This post is not original. In fact, I got the idea from Emmmabooks on Youtube (what a fave) so I’ll leave a link to her video here.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

To begin, here are some books that I see negatively as of now.

1. All SJM novels

Come on, you were anticipating this. From the obscene lack of diversity to the territorial dominance of men, her books are just not good. (I would like to mention that some readers find solace in abuse portrayed of her novels, plus disability, so I’ll give her that.) But as I noticed, her books have gotten progressively worse. Crown of Midnight is incredible compared to the dumpster fire that was ACOWAR and Empire of Storms. I’d like to admit I’ve read them all, so I am qualified to say this. I’ll finish with the last book in ToG, but after that I’m through with her series.

2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

This might surprise some people. Look, I think this trilogy is adorable. A little white and heteronormative, but cute for its time. However, after watching a 30 MINUTE RANT ON YOUTUBE (I recommend searching it, trust me, you’ll know which one) I can say this book had so much underlying problematic features that I can’t even begin to describe. There’s emotional cheating, slut shaming, immature main character. . .and so on. Especially the cheating and slut-shaming, that’s disgusting. How did I not notice when I read it?

3. John Green

I LOVE JOHN GREEN. He’s an amazing Youtuber, activist, and writer. HOWEVER, when I read all of his books back in 2013 I didn’t notice that Abundance of Katherines, and Looking for Alaska share that cliche “manic pixie dream girl” and a geeky boy in a small town. Plus he writes characters who think way too deeply about life and know abstract philosophical concepts. I love Nietzsche as much as the next guy, but early teen readers aren’t going to grasp these pretentious sort of things. I’m curious in Turtles All the Way Down, since it’s OCD ownvoices and I’ve heard many good things. I love John as a person, but I think he needs to branch out with his characters, that’s all. (Did I mention TFIOS romanticizes cancer? Yeah.)

4. Colleen Hoover

I used to adore CoHo. Her books weren’t masterpieces, but they were sure entertaining. However, the problematic runs a bit deeper than I thought. The romantic scenes are often controlling, abusive, and the sex doesn’t always consider consent. (Thanks to the amazing Whitney A. on Youtube for this part of my research) I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT THIS. It seems funny now that I was reading all this new adult at age 14-15, but even as a 20 year old I wouldn’t want to read this.

5. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I BET Y’ALL ALREADY KNOW WHERE I’M GOING WITH THIS. The book, admittedly, isn’t too bad. I read 13RW back in 2013, so I can’t remember a lot, but I met Jay Asher and he seemed like a great guy. As for the TV show, you might know controversy blew up the internet (along with some untimely memes) due to its embellishment of suicide, NO MENTION OF MENTAL HEALTH, and ignored how they could trigger viewers. (And, spoiler, a rape scene.) ‘But whatever, let’s make money???’ Nice going. AND WHO ASKED FOR SEASON 2?

6. Veronica Roth 

I think you can guess where I’m going with this. I liked Divergent, and I liked Insurgent, like any young adult reader in 2012-2014 era. However, Allegiant was trash. The movies flopped. Carve the Mark is somehow getting a sequel? Maybe Veronica will revive herself in the future, but for now, after losing my respect to CTM, I can’t see myself picking up her books anytime soon.

7. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I haven’t read many adult books in my life, and I’m sad to say this was one of them. I LOVED this book back in early 2016. I bawled my heart out at the ending. The movie featured Emilia Clarke, my queen (and khaleesi.) But this book paints a horrible view of disabled people and their narrative. In a society like ours, we don’t need stories about a man in a wheelchair wanting to commit assisted suicide. It’s insensitive, problematic, and I’m surprised now I used to get behind this book.

Phew *wipes brow* that was intense. My fingers can rest now. OKAY, I’m sure your blood is boiling just like mine, so I’ll prove toward a more positive outlook on books. These are some books that I thought I wouldn’t like, but ended up loving, or books that I added to the top of my tbr.

1. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Truthfully (heh) I don’t know much about these books (that might contribute to my previous lack of interest in the series) but Susan Dennard is an awesome advocate of diversity, and I’ve heard Truthwitch features a girl best friend duo (not sure if there is romance or not) which sounds INCREDIBLE! It seems promising. Plus, the recent cover reveal has a POC model, which is super exciting. I think sometime next year I’ll give them a try!

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2. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Okay, I’m still HELLA INTIMIDATED by these books. I’ve said it before. But instead of insinuating that I’ll never read them, I’m moving it to highly unlikely. I’ll probably finish the show first, and while I’m begging for season 8 in 2019, that gives me plenty of time to read the multiple bricks that George has written. After all, the books are always better. (Or ARE they? I don’t know.)

3. The Diviners by Libba Bray

Honestly, there was never anything truly wrong with these books where I was like “I’m never going to read these,” but I just never had interest in them. Sure I’ve heard good things, and I really like the 1920s aesthetic, but I never really decided to pick it up, I don’t even think it’s on my tbr…HOWEVER IT ALL CHANGED WHEN (the fire nation attacked) I mean I heard that The DIVINERS features an asexual supporting character. Of course, it’s loosely ace rep but IT’S REP YALL !! I live for that stuff. As of now, I adore this book and I haven’t read it yet 🙂

4. Magnus Chase by Rick Riordan

This one is a bit interesting, because I don’t hate Magnus Chase, but I read Sword of Summer back in March 2016, and I didn’t pick up the second book, the Hammer of Thor until DECEMBER 2017. Clearly, there’s something in my subconscious that just wasn’t interested in these books! However, after reading the Hammer of Thor, I’m intrigued and I adore the diversity that Rick Riordan has put into his new books and I found myself loving these characters. I’m reading the third novel ASAP!

5. And I Darken by Kiersten White

I never had any problems with AID, I just thought the premise was a bit thick and over my head. I mean, 1400s Ottoman Empire and a Vlad The impaler retelling? TEENAGERS LIKE THAT? Surprisingly yes. AID was one of my favorites of 2017 (Now I Rise suffered some second Book syndrome but was good enough on its own) and I must say I wished I’d changed my opinion on these sooner!

6. Vicious by V.E. Schwab

I never had any problems with this book (I wonder who is noticing a pattern here) but I was always kind of intimidated by it. I think it’s because it was an adult novel, and I really haven’t read a lot of adult, but when I read vicious back in September I really really liked it because the writing was so smooth and kind of felt like a young adult book. PLUS, SCHWAB CONFESSED ON TWITTER THAT VICIOUS IS GETTING A SEQUEL. AND THE MC IS ACE. ACE ACE ACE!! How exciting.

7. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

There’s a lot of hype surrounding this book, and I know the sequel is out, but for a while I just didn’t really think it was all that interesting. I’m not really sure why now, because it features female leads, three of them in fact, and it seems like a dark YA fantasy I would really love. Not sure what pushed me away earlier?? I can’t wait to read it in early 2017. I hear there’s a novella releasing next year!


That’s all I have for now!

Please don’t give me a lecture and say ‘Jill, you really shouldn’t judge a book, because you might like them.’ And you’re right, but I’m still going to judge them, since I have every right to because my tastes can change. Whether it’s a month or a year I can change my opinions on things. It’s just the normal way of life.

Secondly, a lot of books and authors are problematic, and I left them off this list because they didn’t impact me as much as the ones that I’ve chosen today. Just a reminder to be a critical reader. It’s alright to disregard an author if they write problematic things. ITS ALSO OKAY to continue supporting, while pointing out the issues within their books.

Basically, do what you want. It’s important to remember that we are influenced by the book community, and in return, we influence each other. What we like now we may not like later, or vice versa. As long as you’re reading, all is good.


Thanks for reading! What are some books you view differently? (Negatively or positively)

xoxo,

Jill

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14 thoughts on “YA Books that I See Differently Now

  1. Omg I agree with basically everything on this list! I already read Three Dark Crowns and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel but I’ll warn you that it starts off really slow. I just bought the first two books of the Truthwitch series and And I Darken! I’m excited to finally get them in my hands 😊

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  2. I completely agree with the John Green and 13 Reasons why part. Also, I loved divergent and insurgent too and yes, I did feel like CTM was a let down but I’m willing to read the sequel, maybe it’s better?! Amazing post, I loved it

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  3. I no longer feel the same about Anna and the French Kiss. All I cared about was a romance set in Paris, so I glazed over all the issues… Stephanie’s new novel Someone Inside Your House was a bit more diverse but the ‘horror’ aspect was just okay. It was still mostly a romance.

    I liked a couple of John Green’s novels but I thought Paper Towns was crap. Why is he the most famous YA author? I think Adam Silvera is way better. And I have a love/hate relationship with SJM. I thought Queen of Shadows was a hot mess. So was ACOWAR. I guess they’re my guilty pleasure books? I’m ready for the series to be over tbh… yet I can’t stop reading them. Haha

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    1. I haven’t heard the best thing about Perkins’ new book, I probably won’t read it :/ And YES ADAM IS SO GOOD! He deserves a lot more praise! It’s okay if you read SJM, I know the appeal!

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  4. I agree with sooo much of this! Especially sharing your (likely) unpopular opinion on SJM – I really dislike her books too and often don’t see people saying otherwise. While I agree with most of your John Green comments, I do want to point out that Paper Towns doesn’t actually perpetuate the MPDG trope but mocks it and emphasizes its shallowness (John has said this himself on his blog before). Most of his oher books (especially LFA), however, totally do paint all the female leads as MPDGs! Roth lost me after Allegiant too, so it’s nice to know I’m not missing out with CTM 💀

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  5. I don’t know how much you read of Game of Thrones but considering the issues that made you so revolted on the first batch of books in this post, you will not like it as it has many of the problems you pointed out as disappointing in other books

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  6. This looks like the trend I have been seeing around, but interestingly enough I agree with pretty much all you stated.

    I have no love for John Green. I read one of his books and really didn’t like it. I can tell he was a geeky guy always on the outside looking in, therefore he writes what he knows, but sadly he gets so much wrong when he writes those manic pixy dream girl things. This I can say from experience.

    I also agree with the commenter above or below (depending where this comment ends up), about GOT. Authors can only write what they know or understand, so GOT has tons of sexist pigism motivations… and yes there are diverse relationships, but they all get axed, so not really in the realm of positive rep like all you youngsters are looking for… For me it’s the grossness of the author that keeps me away. I have seen him IRL a little too many times with that squint in his eye when those khaleesi cosplayers go nuts for a pic with him.. ewww. I am not offended by the ugliness in reality in books, it’s the reality in life that offends me. Maybe one day I will read the novels but for now I don’t want to fill his pockets.

    And speaking of age… Anna and the bunch are still a sweet little treat for me. As you grow older you find that life is a mess and sometimes those feel good nonpolitical or correct stories are a breathe of fresh air in the heavy weighed down fog that rolls in and out of life. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying every aspect becomes peaches, but the cuteness and desire for fluff is stronger when real life is hard enough.

    When I was younger I read the heavy themed books, because I needed to know that I wasn’t alone in my pain. Now, I treat other’s pain, and as a helper who walks through pain with others, it is nice to live the sweet fantasy for a moment with no caution.

    As for the mentally diverse rabbit whole this generation is crying for… I caution it as writers are not therapists and are just heeding the cry with very little education or experience in the field, which worries me. But if done well a novel can be a blessing to those who struggle with mental wellness, so I will continue to look for those solid portrayals.

    It’s nice to see this generation becoming more critical in their thinking, I hope you continue to read thoughtfully, as long as they are your own thoughts guiding you. This is a great post to begin with, I look forward to your thought in 2018. Merry Christmas. *Sorry you will get no political correctness from me 😉

    Happy reading
    D

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  7. Wonderful post! I’ve never really liked John Green because, like you said, THE CLICHE. I think his books have concepts that are overused and common that I never really liked his book as much as other people did 😦 I really enjoyed TFIOS, though, but did not like it so much. The other books he’s written that I’ve read before (Abundance of Katherines & Looking For Alaska) were books that I either DNF-ed or absolutely disliked huhu :(( I love this post and I like how honest this is! ❤ Also, wonderful blog!!!! Nice to meet you by the way ^_^

    Jillian @ Jillian’s Books

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  8. I’m pretty horrified that I didn’t notice all of the negatives in Anna and the French Kiss! I definitely noticed the cheating but I was so blinded by the romance the rest just flew over my head. I hate that all of the negativity is so glamorized for young readers!

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