What’s Your Opinion: Is YA Fiction Becoming Repetitive?

Is young adult fiction becoming repetitive and unoriginal?

I stumbled onto an interesting debate about a week ago that deals with the above question. Initially I wasn’t sure if I was suppose to be appalled or intrigued. Then, after fifteen minutes of reading the debate and scratching my head, I eventually said, “Y’know, Desiree, this would make for a great discussion.”

The debate starts like this…

The first debater (the one who believes YA is repetitive) said:

“I love to read YA books, and young adult books such as the Hunger Games and the Fault in Our Stars aren’t just for young adults anymore. Everybody is experiencing the thrills and emotions of young adult fiction. However, it is hard to find good young adult books anymore. Why? Because every author has decided that writing a young adult book exactly like The Hunger Games and The Fault in Our Stars is the best way to attract readers and make money (and if you’re lucky, get it made into a movie).”

Then a second debater challenges the first by stating:

“The authors of books such as Hunger Games, Divergent and Fault in our stars are writers of young adult books. Authors are writing the books with the same concepts, because young adults like these books. They are very popular and yes, high on demand. Young adults love to read these books because, what would happen if you always write about the perfect life? What is there to relate to? Even just simply reading these books, your mind enters a completely different world, of creativity.”

If you could participate in this debate, what would your opinion be?

*Click here to see how the debate turned out

14 Replies to “What’s Your Opinion: Is YA Fiction Becoming Repetitive?”

    1. Desiree S. Brown – Earth, USA – I'm a fiction writer with common writer aspirations: selling/sharing my work, gaining tons of fans, world domination—strictly in that order.
      Desiree B says:

      Good point, what do you find repetitive about them?

      1. It’s the plot and more often, the characters. What publishers don’t understand is if the public enjoyed a plot once, they won’t enjoy it the same way twice unless that book is really really good. Like, how many books about a dying child, zombies or vampires can one read?

        1. Desiree S. Brown – Earth, USA – I'm a fiction writer with common writer aspirations: selling/sharing my work, gaining tons of fans, world domination—strictly in that order.
          Desiree B says:

          True, reused tropes can be boring after awhile. However, reused or not, these books still stay on the market. Supply and demand I guess.

          Now that I think about it, there are some tropes that keep my attention more than others (ex. strong female characters). If I see them it keeps me motivated to read the novel. If I don’t…I may or may not read the story. Or maybe I’m just weird? O.o

          1. I think they’re just taking advantage of the trend. Like after Hunger Games, there has been more dystopian novels displayed on bookstores. It sells because the hype is still there. People want more, so I agree with what you’re saying, that it involves supply and demand.

            1. Desiree S. Brown – Earth, USA – I'm a fiction writer with common writer aspirations: selling/sharing my work, gaining tons of fans, world domination—strictly in that order.
              Desiree B says:

              It reminds me a lot of the Harry Potter and Twilight books. Once they were made into movies–Yikes!

              But I’m happy for those authors.

  1. Kate Sparkes – Newfoundland, Canada – Kate Sparkes was born in Hamilton, Ontario, but now resides in Newfoundland, where she tries not to talk too much about the dragons she sees in the fog. She lives with six cats, two dogs, and just the right amount of humans. USA Today bestselling author of the Bound Trilogy (mature YA Fantasy), Into Elurien, and Vines and Vices. Writing dark, decadent, and deadly Urban Fantasy as Tanith Frost. www.katesparkes.com www.tanithfrost.com
    Kate Sparkes says:

    The debate seems to be focused mostly on dystopian YA, and I’ll confess that I’ve read The Hunger Games trilogy (loved this story) and the first Divergent book, but have passed on others because they sound like a rehashing of the same ideas. I will still read ones that sound original (Under the Empyrean Sky was really different, I thought), but I don’t have time to read “strong young woman overthrows evil government and gets in a love triangle along the way” over and over unless I know there’s something more to draw me in. But other readers think differently, and I’m glad there’s plenty out there for them to read.

    That said, I think there’s a very good reason we see the same themes and tropes over and over in any genre. A lot of books use the “average person finds out s/he is actually special” idea because that’s appealing to readers. We know what it feels like to be normal and overlooked, but we all feel like we’re special, deep down. Walking in those characters’ shoes is an adventure we can relate to. Love triangles are a big thing because many readers would love to be in that position, and the romantic conflict keeps pages turning. Seeing an underdog overthrow a corrupt government fits in here, too, and it’s understandable that the trope is particularly strong for younger readers who may feel politically powerless in the real world. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and maybe these are all overdone, but there are reasons for their popularity that go beyond sales figures. (This is all just my personal opinion, of course. I’m no expert)

    Really, I’ll read anything if it has a fresh voice and characters I love, and doesn’t seem like it’s trying to copy the latest popular thing. If a book grabs me, I won’t judge it based on its genre.

    (sorry for the wordiness… it’s early. But this is an interesting discussion!)

    1. Desiree S. Brown – Earth, USA – I'm a fiction writer with common writer aspirations: selling/sharing my work, gaining tons of fans, world domination—strictly in that order.
      Desiree B says:

      Very true! People enjoy to read stories because they feel that they can connect with the characters in them. That’s one of the reasons why I read books. But if I feel as if I’ve already read something similar I may put it down and come back to it later. It’s a good thing that there are more readers out there besides me because that means that someone else may give the book a chance.

      There are those readers who read within a certain genre with the expectation of something. So I agree with you and everyone who has mentioned that this “problem” happens in every genre.

      Personally, I don’t judge books by their genre. I like to read all over the place! But this debate was extremely intriguing! 😀

      (ps…the wordier the better 😛 )

  2. It’s an interesting topic, and one that I expect will crop up many times in the future!

    I don’t read much YA I have to admit, so everything I read seems fresh. But in general, I think you could say the same about any genre, people write what is popular hoping it will sell, and I can’t blame them 😀

    1. Desiree S. Brown – Earth, USA – I'm a fiction writer with common writer aspirations: selling/sharing my work, gaining tons of fans, world domination—strictly in that order.
      Desiree B says:

      Interesting POV Mishka! Thanks for looking at the BIG picture. It makes sense, authors write and publishers publish what the people like.

  3. James Purcell – Born in Dublin in 1850, moved to Bristol in 1860, Former student in Mythobiology, Former captain of the airship Æther Shadow. Died and brought back to life three times over the 164 years of my life so far.
    James Purcell says:

    I don’t know about repetitive but completely rewriting the “Cannon” fact and biological studies of vampires just to make them fit in has distorted the vamp and monster scene.

    1. Desiree S. Brown – Earth, USA – I'm a fiction writer with common writer aspirations: selling/sharing my work, gaining tons of fans, world domination—strictly in that order.
      Desiree B says:

      Lol very true. I guess they were trying to make vampires more “modern”…or something.

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