Young Adult Fiction for Adults discussion

Why is someone always dead?

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message 1: by Diana (new)

Diana Despite years of reading YA books it suddenly just struck me, why is someone always dead? Parents, siblings, friends, the protagonist must overcome long-seeded grief on a journey of self-discovery. Is this a formula? Certainly I can understand that a conflict is necessary and death is serious in nature, but I'm curious to hear opinions on why YA books are so often... gloomy?

message 2: by Ottilie (new)

Ottilie (ottilie_weber) | 484 comments we all grew up with Disney, how many of them have parents??

message 3: by Brandi (new)

Brandi Not that I have extensive experience in the genre to draw from, but I think it is to add to the teen angst. Their lives always have to be tragic somehow (might not be a fair assumption, but I know IRL it seems like a game for kids to see who has the worse life/drama possible)

message 4: by Brandi (new)

Brandi Ottilie wrote: "we all grew up with Disney, how many of them have parents??"

HA! True, and I never even thought of that till you pointed it out lol.

message 5: by Ottilie (new)

Ottilie (ottilie_weber) | 484 comments hahaha my mom and I went on a rant about it once, it was pretty funny

message 6: by Lloyd (new)

Lloyd | 415 comments I don't know why Diana, but that seems to be the case most of the time doesn't it? From Roald Dahl to Disney movies.

Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides (upsight) | 36 comments How can someone have adventures if their parents are present and attentive? :/

message 8: by Shelley (last edited Jan 10, 2011 07:50PM) (new)

Shelley | 20 comments This is a HUGE topic for me, because I had this same complaint as a parent of young children. Yeah, Marlin is an awesome single dad for Nemo, but does anyone remember the mama fish who died protecting her unborn children?!
So when I started writing my teen series, one of my main criteria was: How can the teens be free enough to have adventures and make independent choices without having to fight with or run away from their parents? And so the campus for "Solid" was created. Thanks for the opportunity to let that out :) Solid

message 9: by Ottilie (new)

Ottilie (ottilie_weber) | 484 comments When I write Shelley, I try to cover as many different family situations as I can, I have like 30 stories started, I try to cover the bases

message 10: by Heidi (new)

Heidi It depends on what you are reading I guess, but some series have 2 parents (Georgia Nicholson, Jessica Darling). I think young people often have a fantasy that if their parents disappear they can take care of themselves just fine, (even though this is far from the truth), so perhaps this has something to do with it.

message 11: by Catie (new)

Catie (nematome) I think that parental death/abandonment is one of the hardest things for kids to go through. When we think about "heroes" we think about those of us who have gone through the hardest situations but still triumphed.

message 12: by Kurukka (last edited Jan 11, 2011 03:11PM) (new)

Kurukka Well, death is one of the main tragic events that makes someone grow-up. So I guess it's a good formula, yeah. My opinion is, you find real happiness only when you went trough its opposite and came out of it fine in the end. And if you can heal from such a wound, and still find something worth living for, then you're a conquerant.

message 13: by Ottilie (new)

Ottilie (ottilie_weber) | 484 comments No the prince in Cinderella only has a father, mother was never brougth up

message 14: by Wendy F (new)

Wendy F (blessedwannab) Snow White's father died (there wasn't a mother), Cinderella's father died and her stepmother was evil. The Prince had parents but he wasn't the main character. Ariel only had a dad. The Robinsons had a family but that was his future wife's family. The movie started with him as an orphan. Beauty only had a dad, Nemo only had a dad. Wendy and John had parents but the Neverland kids didn't.

Very rarely does the main character come from a two parent happy household.

I think it's because it gives us instant conflict and easy emotion. Plus alot of our youth of today are raised in single parent households or feel alone.

message 15: by Catie (new)

Catie (nematome) Yes, I think that absentee parents might be such a theme because so many of us grow up that way (including authors).

message 16: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Bluemoon a strange tidbit, in the Princess Diaries the actual book her dad is alive and well the entire series, but in the movie he is dead. Weird huh?

message 17: by Heidi (new)

Heidi I loved the series. It is cheesy, but I still liked it. I listened to them all on audio except the 1/2 numbered books - I read those. I plan to have Meg Cabot as a featured author, so perhaps you can try one then??

message 18: by Catie (new)

Catie (nematome) I love that series too! They totally went away from the books for the movies though. I was kind of mad about how much they changed her grandmere. Even though they are also quite cheesy, I love her historical romances.

Anyway, sorry to hijack this thread with Meg Cabot talk. Good discussion!

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