15 August 2010

The Angst

Found on: The Book Smugglers

For the past few weeks, the lovely Ana & Thea from The Book Smugglers have been hosting a Young Adult (YA) Appreciation Month, with giveaways, guest posts and interviews, along with numerous reviews. They also issued an open invitation to write a YA post. And although I have been rather conspicuous in my absence of late (apologies Ana & Thea) I thought I would attempt to write...something YA *grin*

I had an interesting conversation earlier this month with a work colleague... We started with Twilight, but then branched off into a discussion about one particular pervading theme and how we, as adults, related to it. I'm referring, of course, to angst. Teenage angst. Something that permeates throughout the Twilight books and...a large majority of YA books. (Yes, I will stipulate that I'm generalizing :) Even though my work colleague is an adult and a mother, for her teenage angst makes sense. It was something that she had experienced as a teenager and thus could relate too as an adult. I confessed that I didn't get the whole teenage angst state of mind, but then, as our conversation continued, I realized that I wasn't what one might consider a 'normal' teenager. To all intents and purposes, my teenage days centred on and around one person and whether, on that particular day, he was in a good mood or not. Nothing else mattered, nothing else penetrated but making him...content (making him happy just wasn't going to happen). So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that teenage angst just....doesn't make that much sense to me :) Which is rather interesting because I usually love books with angst...

So, I'm curious. Do you read YA books and, if so, do you relate to the teenage angst? And, out of interest, do you think there is too much angst in the YA genre ATM?


  1. I don't really read YA... I think part of it is that it's been over 20 years since I was a teen. :)

  2. I read and enjoy YA but for me, angst and angsty behavior is something that has to make sense in the context of the book. I've read some YA titles that were pretty much all angst and those were a little slow moving for me, but then again I've read YA titles that were devoid of angst and didn't really feel authentic either.

  3. Chris - ditto (WRT the time frame :) I do read some YA. Hmmm. Come to think of it, I probably enjoy fantasy YA more...the age gap seems less apparent.

    Emily - welcome! And very good point. The angst does need to fit within the context and...well if it's not present at you the reader could be left wondering if the characters have a pulse :)

  4. In general, I like angst in books even though I hate drama in real life. But for some reason I don't relate to teen angst and don't enjoy reading it. However, there are a lot of YA books that I have enjoyed because they just have excellent storytelling. I do tend to prefer the YA books where the characters feel like people of any age and not teens facing the teenage dilemma of the moment, though.

  5. I do tend to prefer the YA books where the characters feel like people of any age and not teens facing the teenage dilemma of the moment, though.

    Kristen - you've hit the nail on the head IMHO :) That's it exactly. And if the angst fit with those characters....perfect :)

  6. LOL Is there really a limit to believable teenage angst, Orannia? I don't think so. In fact, having lived with a 17-year-old, I know there isn't.

    I like YA books because the angst. So much drama. :)

  7. I agree with what Kristen said and what orannia quoted above. That is so very true!

    I don't mind the angst in YA. It often makes for an exciting story. But there is an invisible line that must not be crossed before I start rolling my eyes.

    Recalling my teenage years and having a teenager now--I do know that teens are angsty creatures. Well, maybe a better word would be melodramatic. I like that descriptor better. So it suits YA fiction to have some level of hyped up drama.