This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Young Adults Save the World

The other day I finished reading a Young Adult book that I felt was kind of well, average. The writing was good, the scenes were set pretty well, but there was just something that bothered me about the plot. It was a contemporary ya action novel that seemed to be inspired by the Jason Bourne spy movies. It was fun, it was well written, but why didn’t it connect with me? I did also have trouble emotionally connecting with the hero, but I really think it’s because I didn’t believe it.It didn’t connect because the world this seventeen year old lives in could be my own world. I had to fight my own reality and couldn’t immerse myself completely into the story.

Is that why it’ easier to accept a 17 year old saving the world or falling in love when it’s a Fantasy novel?  

Absolutely! Why?

  1. World building: When I read V. E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series, or Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen series, I didn’t have time to stop and question the logistics, emotional capacity, training, and fortitude of the main characters. I was too busy immersing myself in the world they were building. Trying to figure out the schematics of jumping Londons distracted me from scoffing at such a young person single handedly saving her race. (yeah, I mixed the plots a bit to prove my point, but you get the drift.)
  2. Magic: It may be a tired trope, but if our hero or heroine has a magical power, that power trumps how old they are. 17? Pshaw! This girl can fling lightening out of her hands! This guy is a billionaire who has created a virtual reality game that is taking over the world! When he/she uses that power to save herself, her friends, or the world… well, I’m all in! I don’t even stop to think twice about it! Of course, not all powers are used for good, but point made.
  3. The power of love: I am not going to say that love can’t conquer all because love changes people and makes them view life differently. Love is life changing, but is that power of love more believable when it’s a 17 year old girl who turns into a dragon or a seventeen year old girl late for class in high school? Well, I’m intrigued by this girl who turns into a dragon and will be more willing to overlook her age than the girl I envision as myself in a high school setting.  The comparison to myself makes me remember all of her life that remains in front of her. I’m a little more skeptical that she may have found the love of her life at 17 than that she turns into a dragon. Weird, right?
  4. Fight experience: I’m speaking VERY generally, but I believe the percentage of 17 year old’s in the real world who have the fighting skills to overcome terrorists are pretty slim. However, in a fantasy setting where sword skills are learned by the age 10, and of course there are those magic powers  they can use (!), I can believe the storytelling for that world. After all, it’s not my own world, it’s make believe.

teen super hero's

You get the point. So, here’s the dilemma. How do you write a YA novel, set in the world we are living in, where it’s believable for the main protagonist to have the skills, knowledge and fortitude to save the day, fall in love and otherwise be a hero that is believable?

How do you review that book and not let your own opinions (yes, maybe even disbelief) of that story reflect in your review? Or do you let it affect your review?

I’d like to hear your opinion!

Until next Sunday,

Deb

p.s. I am in no way saying that a 17 year old can’t save the world, only that it is more believable in a Fantasy novel. There are amazing young people out there who love this world and will hopefully keep helping save it. This post was a silly way for me to procrastinate writing a review about a teen spy that saved his school. Back to it!

 

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8 thoughts on “This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Young Adults Save the World

  1. Totally agree! I definitely find it easier to suspend my disbelief for fantasy than other types of books- I’ve read YA spy stuff before and it often feels faintly ludicrous. But if a character has magical powers, well, why not save the world? 😉 Awesome discussion!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh that’s an interesting post – I have to agree with you, for me, it’s always easier to believe and to get into a story of teenagers saving the world whenever it’s a fantasy story. Though it is pretty incredible to see contemporary books with teenagers trying to fight for their rights and to save their own world, in their own way -thinking about The Hate U Give- ; but yeah, fantasy has something on that for sure as well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. When teenagers are fighting to change their own world it’s inspiring. However in a fantasy world I accept it without thought. I remember reading Six of Crows and at the end realizing that oh yeah those were 17 yr olds. It’s easier to forget in a make believe world. However that doesn’t take away from teens doing extraordinary things in the real world. It’s just that I am always consciously thinking if that could happen? If that makes sense…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I completely agree with this and have noticed it myself.

    Though I can’t answer the “how” an author can do it, I do believe that the right author can make you believe absolutely anything if done well.

    As someone who reads mostly romance, I’ve found that as long as the storyline/relationship/characters/setting/etc is believable, I can throw reality completely away and believe whatever the author is selling.

    Suspending belief is a part of reading (one of the best parts in my opinion) and when I find that I am questioning the reality as I’m reading, it’s more and more obvious that it is because the author hasn’t done a good enough job at making me believe them.

    For example, I typically am not a fan of romance novels in which the main characters fall in love at first sight … mostly because it is hard to sell it in a novel. There have been multiple instances in which couples in books have fallen instantly in love and I was 100% invested and totally believed it simply because the author wrote it well enough to make it so.

    The best authors can be the best magicians.

    (Great post BTW)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your last line. “The best authors can be the best magicians.” That is absolutely true and what I want to happen every time I pick one up. When it doesn’t happen it’s disappointing. When I have to review it I try to be as neutral as possible but in essence, if I didn’t believe it, I didn’t love it. That’s what it comes down to, isn’t it? Thanks for taking part in the discussion and thanks for the compliment!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re very welcome ❤ And thank YOU!

        That is ABSOLUTELY what it comes down to (belief). I only recently realized this as I was struggling to write a review about why I didn't like a book and ultimately it came down to that fact that I just didn't buy in.

        I love this discussion so much, thanks for starting it!

        Liked by 1 person

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