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.
Dazed and Confused
When Dazed and Confused left theaters it had grossed just 7.9 million from its 6.9 million budget. The movie starred a string of then-unknown stars like Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck and Milla Jovovich. Although underperforming at the box office, the film went on develop a cult following by people who identified with its themes of rebellion and going against conformity. The film has been put on many critics list of best cult films and recently got a Star of Texas award from the Texas Film Hall of Fame for its 20th anniversary.
The science-fiction drama film with its somewhat confusing nature went on to be one of the top favorites for hipsters nationwide. It did moderately okay, grossing 7.6 million against a 4.5 million budget. Despite the film’s less than stellar box office receipts, it helped launch the career of lead actor Jake Gyllenhaal. In the movie Gyllenhaal’s character Donnie, aims to find the significance behind his troubling doomsday visions.
Wet Hot American Summer
Although it had sold-out screenings at its Sundance Festival premiere, Wet Hot American Summer failed to attract many distributors for pick up. It went on to gross just $295,000 againsta $1.8 million budget. It didn’t seem to matter much. The film developed a cult following with strong DVD sales. The film starred many up and comers including Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Ken Marino, Bradley Cooper and Elizabeth Banks. Director David Wain has confirmed a sequel with the original cast returning.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Despite positive reviews from critics and fans, Scott Pilgrim flopped at the Box Office making $47 million against a $60 million budget. Fear not, the film shot up to the first spot for blu-ray sales on Amazon the day it became available on DVD. Comic book lovers and hipsters developed a love for the film that showed Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) meeting the girl of his dreams and defeating her “seven evil exes.”