Young adult novels…they’ve seem to have gotten repetitive. Fascinating worlds and wonderful tales fill them but many of the main characters across the book have a common shared theme: they’re socially awkward hipsters who take off beaten paths.
I’m not saying that all young adult books are like this. There are several books to choose from that do not take this well-worn path: The Hunger Games, Maze Runner, Divergent. It is worth pointing out why many young adult books are diving in this theme of embracing the unconventional individual. Several young adult books with nerdy/awkward protagonists have become bestsellers. Young adult author John Green’s books including Paper Towns, The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska all include having a main protagonist who isn’t very outgoing and believes in staying quiet.
Two young adult genre breakout hits of 2013 were Eleanor & Park and Fangirl. Both books (written by the same author: Rainbow Rowell) deal with introverted characters who surround themselves in their own world. This Song Will Save Your Life, a novel by Leila Sales,deals with a quiet teen girl who has trouble making friends. Notice a similar theme/trend with the other books mentioned?
Perhaps this is just a trend that in the coming years will start to slow down. It’s good that many young adult authors are helping teens embrace their quirky traits and awkwardness in a world of weight pressure, body image critics, and bullying. There is room for change however. Sometimes it needs to be known when to move on and describe other types of characters. Embrace the person who likes to speak up, make things, and/or is overly vain. It would be a welcomed change.
Movies following the “typical” twenty-something as lost and searching for what to do are far from adequately representing what this age group is about.
If I was anything like the typical twenty-something depicted in movies then I would walk around clueless about what to do and lacking direction. That’s not the case. I’m not like that (for the most part). Career goals fill my future outlook. I dream of the different jobs I want to have and what I am doing to get there.
Actually, a lot of twenty-something’s are like that. At least for the ones I encounter in college. Big ambitions and realistic planning with their future lives fill their days.
This group of ambitious, go-getting, persistent people never seems to be portrayed in films dealing with a twenty-something. It’s similar to when Hollywood movies are made about teens. The twenty-something is put into a stereotype of how the rest of society thinks they act.
Movies dealing with the lost twenty-something and having a quarter-life crisis have grown in popularity. Lena Dunham’s feature film Tiny Furniture was beloved by audiences and received the award for Best Narrative Feature at the South by Southwest Festival. The film follows recent college graduate Aura (Dunham) who moves back home with a lack of direction. 2006’s Accepted shows a group of 18-year-olds as they create their own “college” after being rejected from others and not knowing what to do. Reality Bites depicts a lowly videographer as she lacks guidance and irresponsibly quits her job. Greenberg, Frances Ha and How to Be follow the same suit.
What’s the deal with all of this? Are all twenty-something’s taking longer to grow up? No. It’s quite different. Many of them have dreams (that are realistic), goals and plans for how to achieve them. There are many twenty-something’s that are stuck in a somewhat slow period. They work less than ideal jobs, low-paying jobs and/or still finding a job. It doesn’t mean there lost. Many of them are just stuck in the phase of getting experience to qualify them for jobs they really want.
The appeal to the lost and directionless crowd is understandable. Everyone has been there. It’s something that is a common experience. However it can be overdone.
The coming-of-age “finding yourself” films seem like they are going the way of the parody films. Everyone is tired of them and want to move on.
Mass Communication week started today. The five day event focuses on connecting Texas State students to mass comm professionals. A series of events with different speakers from different media disciplines. Through the events the professionals are able to talk about the trends and issues concerning today’s media. Advice and insight is given to students nearing the entry into this evolving and competitive world.