Ever since I discovered YA fiction, I’ve loved both reading and writing it. But after immersing myself in it for a while, I noticed something (something that I’m sure hasn’t escaped your attention either!). There are certain themes that crop up pretty often in YA literature. So often, in fact, that I now expect to come across at least one whenever I read a new YA book.
- The Love Triangle
- Love At First Sight
- The Bad Boy Love Interest
I’m not saying these themes are wrong. There are, of course, instances where they work really well. For example, the love triangles in The Hunger Games series (Katniss, Peeta, Gale) and The Infernal Devices series (Tessa, Will, Jem) are cleverly pulled off and add much to the storyline. And sometimes the Bad Boy has a really good reason for acting like such a jerk (again, Will from The Infernal Devices series).
After thinking about it for a little while, I realized that none of these three stereotypes show up in Guardian:
- there’s only one main guy, Nate, so no love triangle;
- Vi thinks Nate is kinda cute, but once he ruins her perfect assignment record by following her into the fae realm, love-at-first-sight is the last thing on her mind;
- and Nate is certainly not a “bad boy”. In fact, the only bad boy here is Ryn (the faerie who reports Vi’s assignment screw-up), and Vi’s feelings for him extend more toward shoving him out of a tree than love.
But you may have noticed there’s a stereotype I haven’t mentioned yet . . .
- Forbidden Love
Okay, so I couldn’t steer completely clear of stereotypes!
A question for readers and writers: How do feel about these YA “stereotypes”?
Rachel Morgan is the author of Guardian, the first novelette in the Creepy Hollow series. She was born in South Africa and spent a large portion of her childhood living in a fantasy land of her own making. These days, in between teaching mathematics to high school children, she writes fiction for young adults.