This is a feature my brother came up with— wherein we tackle certain topics on books, young adult or not, and give you guys the low down on our opinions of them (which, mind you, generally differ). I’ll be encoding our conversation, and if you guys have any opinions of your own on the topic, or on the heated discussion, feel free to once again make my day and comment!
My brother is seventeen, a college sophomore, approximately one year and two days older. His name is Juan (that’s pronounced like the number, one), and he’s my best friend. No matter what anyone else says.
Jasmine: Hellaaaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuw. (In reference to the way Marcus Butler says it)
Juan: Well hello there, you! And by the way, here’s a cautionary to serve as preface to this discussion: I’m not gonna be as energetic and knee-slappingly hilarious for today, because I have these colds. *sniffle*. ALTHOUGH I will still give out cookies. And hugs. And autographs and–
Jasmine: I STOPPED LISTENING AFTER DEM COOKIES. WHERE DEM COOKIES. Before that though– well, you have colds. There, there. Let me comfort you with a sisterly huggle!
*reaches out for a hug*
Juan: … Well this is mildly disturbing. Let’s just pretend that we can actually stomach this right now.
Jasmine: Been doing that since you walked into the room.
Juan: And that’s why I love you.
Jasmine: D’AAAAAAAW. Imma pretend you meant that. But anywaaaay, my brother and I are going to discuss something particularly interesting for today (at least in our humble opinion. Forgive us possibly lame definitions of interesting). It was originally on too much romance in YA, but that’s too much of a hot topic right now between this particularly chaotic siblinghood, so we decided to make a last minute change. So take it away bro!
Juan: Basically, this one’s about YA topics that authors should start exploring if they want to save their precious genre. Our humble opinions squared.
Jasmine: Right! SO. What’s you’re take on this one?
Juan: I just think they should try directing more attention to friendship and peer groups. YA books recurrently create scenarios where average guy/girl meets guy/girl of their dreams– it’s a form of escapism if you ask me, at least from reality. In these stories, most of the childhood / friends and peers are thrown to the side, functioning only to give random advice, the moving parts to a machine that operates to improve the protagonist’s relationship with his/her
sex god love interest. And before you know it, another one bites the dust.
Jasmine: I do think that friends play vital roles in terms of the main protagonist’s development, but I don’t agree that what you defined as “escapism” is necessarily a bad thing. I know for a fact that a multitude of readers embrace Young Adult because of the genre’s ability to paint them desirable landscapes, which is probably the point. I myself read books for much same purpose, because reality is overrated, and I happen to like losing myself between the pages of a good book– they provide a safe haven of sorts from the harsh realities of life, you know? But of course, I have nothing against Contemporary books. I’ll get to that later. Meanwhile, where were you on your peer group thoughts?
Juan: Well each to his own, right! I’m still not convinced though! And to further strengthen my argument: seemingly, authors fail to realize that friends, masculine and feminine alike, biologically or otherwise, represent symbolic measures of time spent with the main protagonists. To a certain extreme, they even help shape the character’s habits and beliefs altogether. It would therefore be more interesting if the characters go through these story book experiences with their friends, people who’ve known them since genesis, people who understand what makes them tick (or people who understand, period). This of course is in contrast to the trend nowadays, where someone a) new b) drop-dead gorgeous c) athletic d) brilliant e) head-over-heels in love with them or f) all of the above steps momentously in their lives, changing it forever. Cue insta-love and insta-heartbreak, which is by the way, getting too old too soon. Here’s an example: what if, in a peer group with 2 guys and 3 girls– two of the girls like the same guy? And then this same guy, is in love with their third friend, and the other guy in the group is falling for one of the girls that has a thing for the first guy.
Jasmine: AND THEN OHGOD THE GIRL THE FIRST GUY LIKES ACTUALLY LIKES DUDE NUMBER TWO—
Juan: NO you’re ruining the thought! This isn’t a random dating experiment. Back to my ideas though: the book could explore how the second guy always feels… how shall I put it, inferior to the first, because the latter happens to have attracted the girl the former fancies. What then becomes of their friendship? Will they overcome their differences or will they let their brotherhood fall into discord over one vindictive twist of fate? Living in someone else’s shadow, striving towards acceptance, the sort of shit that teenagers can’t help but relate to— isn’t that closer to home than, for example, a situation where hot abs meets blonde hair + blue eyes and they practically save humanity from destruction, mid-pubescence? HOWEVER, it doesn’t always have to be contemporary, although I am in favor of such (I know it’s a girly genre but PLEASE LADIES don’t go crazy over me).
Jasmine: Don’t step on my pathetic face, is more like it. But as much as I hate to admit it, you seem to have some sort of point….
Juan: I choose to remain an ignoramus to that earlier smart-ass comment. But thank you. And ANYWAY, it’s about friends! We all have our own sets, real or imaginary, and maybe there should be more stories about them. Just a thought. That might just make us treasure these books more, as opposed to having them feature imaginary hot abs. YES, I’m angry at hot abs, I don’t have one.
Jasmine: BAHAHAHA ohh the bitter root, the BITTER ROOT.
Juan: I’m working on it, okay?! Now you put your own ideas forward. CHALLENGE ME, WEAKLING!
Jasmine: Well I don’t think that chemistry between peers in books is a bad thing, and it can never really be, unless we’re talking pseudo-friends whose true colors show halfway through. Honestly though, I’m satisfied with how they’re portrayed, mainly due to the fact that I haven’t given it much thought. As for me? I pine for the books that instigate rivers of tears and temporary despondency. NO brother, it’s not all about wanting more of the feels. Basically, I’m into books that deal with tough subjects— partly for the raw emotions, and partly to the prove the point that romance and sentiment don’t necessarily go hand in hand– there are other, more deep-seated means to achieve the latter. Now live with it, people!
Juan: Okay well, I STILL think you just need more of the feels. I mean, what do you mean by tough subjects anyway? Homosexuality? Drugs? Disease? War? John Green?
Jasmine: All of the FREAKING above!! I’m not pathological
at least not until further scrutiny, but I am particularly enraptured by stories that involve real life struggles, except for the piddling, negligible ones of course, such as the ‘OH I DON’T KNOW WHICH CEREAL TO EAT FOR BREAKFAST’ types (totes go for the Raisin Bran). As opposed to my love for books that introduce me to new spheres of being that may or may not lie parallel to the universe I belong in, I also much appreciate books that explore topics closer to home. The characters in these books are inclined towards relatability, genuineness, and charisma, and I definitely need more of that in YA these days. Though I am probably a walking oxymoron right now, being the the bro-professed ‘escapist’ here, this just goes to show that Young Adult has the potential to become one of the most diverse and three-dimensional genres out there. I know that a lot authors are afraid to explore topics officially addressed by society (Eleanor and Park was banned after all, and it was hands down one of the most poignant and inspirational books I’ve ever dared let myself succumb to), yet my belief stands that it’s a risk worth taking. But that’s just me, and that ends this feature!
Juan: Well that was staggering. OH, trivia! This post was inspired by an episode of Anohana, in English “The Flower We Saw That Day”. There should be a YA version of this. Let not the girly title deceive you.
Jasmine: Deceived I am not. Now let us dance to Maroon 5’s One More Night to celebrate.
Juan: CHALLENGE ME, WEAKLING!
Jasmine: To a dance off!!
*ridiculous amounts of
twerks and pelvic thrusts legitimate dance moves to Adam Levine eargasm later*
Jasmine: …This goes on Youtube.
Juan: If we get views of the Justin Bieber variety, call me.
Jasmine: On it, bro.
So what do you think? Have any suggestions? Criticisms of the constructive variety? Life changing praise? Comment if you do! 😀
P.S. We’d appreciate suggestions on future topics!
P.P.S. What do you think of our new format (I highlighted the main points. Does it help?)