This month, in case you didn't know, is Just Contemporary Month! I love love love contemporary YA, therefore I'm participating in some of the guest posty activities planned. This week's guest post is written by Katelyn from Katelyn's Blog all about the tough stuff in contemporary literature! It's great my lovelies, so read on. :)
My name is Katelyn and I’m the crazy blogger behind Katelyn’s Blog (catchy title, huh?). When I’m not reading, my time is mostly taken up by my family (3 brother + 2 sisters + 3 dogs = LOTS of madness), college (hope to become a high school math/English teacher), and working (I’ve got to pay for my book/shoe/food addictions somehow).The only two things that keep sane during my crazy days are books and music. I love to read anything young adult but my heart beats a little stronger for contemporary fiction. I am a total fan-girl to Sarah Dessen, Melina Marchetta, Jennifer Echols, Simone Elkeles, We The Kings, Taylor Swift, and Augustana!
Sex. Drugs. Abuse. Suicide. Divorce. Death. Molestation. Break-ups. Lies. Cheaters. Loss. Grieving. Absent parents. Homelessness. Confidence issues. Self-worth. Depression. Anger problems. Eating disorders. Addiction. Drinking. Sexual orientation. Homophobia. Racism. Prejudices. Back-stabbing. Bullying. Teen pregnancy. Disorders. These are just a few of the issues that teens deal with on a daily basis but really the list can go on and on. Perhaps one of the greatest things about Y.A. contemporary fiction novels is that an author can cover one or two or as many issues as they want and nearly anybody can relate to it. Now what you guys may or may not find surprising, is that I have always stayed away from these “darker” contemporary novels up until recently and here is why.
I am not one of those close-minded people who think not reading about a certain issue means it is not there. I am well aware of all the problems going on in the world around us. The difference between me and people who think Y.A. contemp books are too dark for teens is that I think they are excellent for the right people. A girl who cuts herself reads a book about a girl going through a similar situation. However, the girl in the book finds the strength to say “No more” and moves on to other, more productive ways of expressing herself. A book that would be rather depressing and sad in many ways to some people, myself included, can be a life saver for another. I KNOW that books save lives, so why is it that I stayed away from them?
To answer that, would be extremely difficult. The only thing I can come up with is because by the end of the day, I thought I NEEDED a lighter book. I needed one that would make me smile, and laugh, and giggle like a school girl when a cute boy says something. I didn’t particularly want one that would make me sad and cry because after a long day of school, work, and home life, I wanted to be taken to a brighter, happier place.
I thought I was staying away from these “tough issue” books until I really began to look at what I was reading.*enter epiphany type music here* Sarah Dessen’s books are known for the romance but take a deeper look and there is so much more beneath the surface. Abuse, rape, death of a parent just to name a few! Jellicoe Road, a book I love is all about tough stuff. Love, Inc. a rather cute book is about parents divorcing and the effects that can have on kids. It’s Kind of a Funny Story follows a guy who commits himself to a psych ward because he wants to kill himself. Five Flavors of Dumb is about a girl who is deaf! These are all some of my FAVORITE books and you know what? They are full of tough issues. I DO read books that deal with stuff that real teens go through. It may be the lighter side of tough but they still cover it in a way that I can relate to.
Books about drug addiction, incest, molestation just aren’t for me. BUT I know there are people out there who NEED books like that so they can gain a sense of comfort knowing they are not alone out there. I give props to the authors who can create a world so dark and so very true so teens can have a voice. Books dealing with tough issues give the ones who have been forced to be quite about things going on in their lives a sense of hope. They can believe that there is a way out of an abusive relationship or drug addiction can be beat. These books may be dark compared to most Y.A books, but you want to know something kind of crazy? They are the most hopeful books I have ever laid eyes on.
There you go my lovelies! What do you think? Let me know in the comments!
Also, how's everyone doing? It's been a while, no?
"Powerful Stuff"-Sean Hayes,