Have I mentioned my feelings about teen romance before? Because I feel like I rant about it all the time.
I think of myself as a YA reader, but--God, this is depressing to
write--the older I get, the less patience I have with it. I don't mind
this very much, except that I think I'm in a period of growing pains,
where I can't tell from a book description or a sample whether it's
going to be a pleasure to read or annoy the hell out of me.
Case in point: The Catastrophic History of You and Me. While I realize that it's a love story, the whole sense that the WHOLE WORLD depends on this TRUE LOVE between these two sixteen year olds just exhausts me. At least, in this book, it's not literally the whole world--if you look at books like Matched and Delirium, you'd think the actual fate of the actual world was in the balance. But here, it's just life or death for the young lovers. No biggie, right?
I couldn't finish it. Bree has died of a broken heart--apparently there are X-rays to prove it. This demonstrates to me a lack of perspective on the part of this 16-year-old. And even if she learned perspective by the end, I wasn't ready to spend my precious reading hours watching her get there. She's hanging out with a hot guy in the afterlife/pizza joint, haunting her family and friends, maybe messing with the guy she loved so much who broke up with her. But I'm sorry--your high school boyfriend not loving you forever is not life or death, and there is no level on which I can even pretend that anymore.
But then there was The Fault In Our Stars. My faith has been restored by this book. There is life and death here--the teenaged characters all have cancer--and the love story is the absolute center of this book, and it still manages to be perceptive and sad and funny. The teenagers are all overly educated and overly articulate, but you can buy that from kids who have spent most of their lives around adults, reading, resting, and thinking about the meaning of life.
I may no longer be as moved by the problems of youth, but I have a new appreciation for books that recognize that young people are also people, and treat them like that. Catastrophic History is an ABC Family show of a book. (In my day it would have been a WB show. Yes, I'm a codger.) Stars is a really good prime time drama. Maybe by Aaron Sorkin, directed by Stephen Spielberg doing a rare stint in contemporary YA television.
My analogy is going off the rails. It's okay--I'm out of blogging practice. I'll get back on the wagon, I promise!