Let Teens Be Teens

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Let Teens Be Teens


I’m finding it harder and harder to read reviews of young adult books written by fellow adults. I’m finding trendy labels such as ‘Mary Sue’, ‘insta-love’, and ‘love triangles’ thrown around in books that don’t consist of these things. I’m finding adults critiquing teenagers for being teenagers and disliking the books because the teen characters don’t react the same way the reader would.

We read teen books starring teen characters and then complain that they can’t handle life as well as an adult. When they make stupid decisions we label them ‘Too Stupid to Live’. When they fall in love we label it ‘instalove’. When they don’t think through consequences we label them ‘dumb and immature’. When they don’t have their life sorted out and a life plan we label them useless.

Well for fuck’s sake, they’re freaking teenagers. I’m nearly 30 and I still haven’t figured out what I want to do with my life other than find the perfect work/life balance and strive for contentedness. I fell in love at age 20 and planned my life around getting to be with my now-husband. We’re now married and I’m blissfully happy with my life. What’s wrong with that? What’s the three year difference between a 17 year old making the same decision?

This is why I love young adult books, because teenagers don’t act like adults, they don’t have the same problems, they don’t think the same and they don’t make the same decisions.

Does that mean we have to be hard on them and knock them down for acting just like teenagers?


About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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2 thoughts on “Let Teens Be Teens

  1. Annie

    You highlight such a great point about the YA community. It’s a balance I have to think about when reading books because I’m not a teenager either. Do I like books where the characters are a little more mature or I can relate to them because they do what I’d do? yeah. Does that mean the books that I don’t identify with as much are bad books? Not necessarily. It’s kind of like reading middle grade books – those are *kids* and you have to give them room to be 10 and 11 and walk through the world as a child would. I can say I didn’t enjoy it as much as a jr. high/highschooler would, which is fair. But you’re right, it’s important to remember that the characters are often teenagers and let them act as such 🙂

    1. Nemo

      Thanks, Annie! I just think adults reviewing teen books are sometimes way harsh on the characters because they’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a teen. Maybe they should move on to adult books where the characters are supposed to be emotionally mature – THEN complaining about immaturity would be a fair shot.

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