Thursday, August 18, 2011

You're a YA Cliché! ~ by Cara Best

Cara Best, one of my favorite teen bloggers, told me she was working on a list of Clichés in YA Novels. I asked (begged!) her to share it with me as a guest post. Lots of fun ensued (see below).

You may read Cara’s regularly irregular and most charming blog posts and YA Book Reviews at Chasing Words. Drop by.

You're a YA Cliché ~ by Cara Best.

Welcome to your very own YA novel: CLICHED. You're the main character and your story has been told by an anonymous writer who's just released the details. Here's your reality CLICHED in list form

1. Your parents are dead.

I'm sorry to be the one to tell you, but your parents are dead. Maybe both, maybe one or the other, at least a sibling. Someone in your immediate family is dead. Because being an orphan, half-orphan, or recent only child makes you relatable because no one has a complete, still living family


2. You’ll be in Science Class a lot.

You're a "typical" high school student, but you only attend science classes. Also, you never have homework. Studying is a foreign concept. In said science classes you only ever do lab work and your lab partner is Hotty McGorgeouson. Hotty thinks you're cute which leads to…

3. Instalove!

McG and you have had two full minute-long conversations and now you're in love.

The only thing you know about him is that he broods a lot {brood is a keyword, it's used often to emphasize his mysterious appeal}, has long, lean pulsating muscles {again, phrasing is key}, and that his past was traumatizing. You don't know what was traumatizing, but you must take Hotty's word that he did nothing wrong and was a helpless victim. The pick axe in the trunk of his car is also just for weekend projects

4. You have no interests whatsoever.

This is key. You must enjoy nothing but spending time with Hotty McG and solving whatever mysterious problem you're “battling.” Your token minority friend will constantly try to convince you to do something with your life, but you manage to resist.

5. You cannot, I repeat, CANNOT do anything for yourself or by yourself.

CLICHED is going for a 1950s housewife mentality in which you may do feminine tasks but are not allowed to save yourself, be heroic in any way, act as anything other than Damsel in Distress, or do anything without Hotty. Think of what the neighbors will say!

6. Stay on script.

Feel like going out of the box? Don't. Have an original, fresh idea? Kill it with fire. The last thing our publisher needs is you becoming a mid-list author because you don't listen. Our study of five real live teenagers has shown that clichés are beloved among YA readers and we must not divert!

There you have it. CLICHED in a nutshell. The next book in the series OVERDONE is set to come out in one year with seventeen more books rounding out the series. Feature films to come. Happy reading everyone!

19 comments:

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Here's one I notice all the time: cute boys MUST have crooked smiles.

Julia Karr said...

And, you must have a secret power or 'gift' of which you were not aware!

HelenL said...

I squirmed when I read a few of these. Dead family members? Check. Crooked smile? Check. You forgot to mention red-haired best friend!

Jessica S. said...

"Kill it with fire." I have to say, that made me lose it. Great list. ^_^ (new follower, btw, from Cara's blog)

Jessilyn (YA Book Haven) said...

lol so true for so many books very cute post!

Jessica Martinez said...

I love this list! And yeah, I just finished writing a book about a girl with a dead mother, but oh well...

Kristi Cook said...

LOL, Caroline--yes, or lopsided grins! Great post--but yikes, I'm guilty of a couple (few?).

Lia Habel said...

Unfortunately, I fall into the "dead parents" trap - but one of them comes back! Rotting! But otherwise okay! Does that count?

My personal pet peeve is the insistence on hot guys. The guys MUST be hot. Always. Because, you know, a sexy voice can't soften a scarred face. Or, heavens, SOME PERSONALITY. No one ever falls in love with a PERSONALITY. Pfft. You think we women AREN'T shallow, or something?

*hugs her Beast plushie and grumbles about 'Beauty and the Beast' being false advertising*

Lenore Appelhans said...

If you're in a mystery, you must be the last person on Earth not to own a cellphone!

Sonia Gensler said...

All my stories have dead parents. Oops! Then again, I write historicals, and medical care wasn't so great back in the day. (Ha ha)

Sara Bennett Wealer said...

You somehow hold the key to the survival of your society or even the world. You feel repressed by your society/world but don't really know why; all you know is that you yearn to break free. You are not cool or popular or a cheerleader or anything like that. You are a geek, which actually does make you cool. You have a friend with really fabulous, quirky fashion sense. Said friend may or may not be gay...

Should I go on? (Yes, I have a couple of these in my own writing...)

Kathy McCullough said...

Oh yeah, I realized early on in writing my book that I hit a lot of cliches, but that was my story, those were my characters, there wasn't much I could do about it, other than not write it. Some of these elements just work for the genre. Detectives in noir fiction tend to be haunted by some dark past; in chick lit, the heroines are often unlucky in love. If it's done well, it doesn't bother me. Dickens had an awful lot of dead parents in his books, so...

GhostFolk.com said...

Wow! What a nice group of authors represented in the comments!

There are reasons for some of the cliche's, of course. When the story and the main characters compel me along, I don't even notice.

I think cliche's stand out when the story or writing is weak.

Also worthy of note, perhaps, is that some YA authors set up cliche situations in order to parody them and move them along in the ongoing annals of living literature. I mean, you know, it is possible that satire occurs in YA lit.... uh, I guess that's another blog post some day, tho.

Thanks EVERYONE for commenting!

GhostFolk.com said...

Lenore ~ LOL. No shit.

Cara said...

Thank you all for such lovely comments. :) You pointed out some great cliches I'd missed. {How could I forget the crooked smile?!}

I'm glad everyone is seeing this post as the joke it is. Tons of my favorite books have numerous cliches, but just because sometimes I love them doesn't mean I don't notice them. It's fun to laugh at the genre I adore every once in a while. :)

Cynthia said...

Let's not forget that there is second hot guy that totally confuses and yet fascinates you. Both guys are after you,(both have crooked grins, or a dimple)but which will you choose?

Kate said...

This made me laugh so hard! Great job Cara :)

Raven Paramour said...

I am working on a paranorma satire that pokes fun at the YA cliches.

Miy said...

Mind if i cut in? Anoyher cliche Ive noticed since i coukd read let alone write is that they always act like the mc of the story especually if their a girl has to be close to the mom. I dont really like it and it really annoys me to no end. Whats wrong with a daughter and dad being close? Anyway, i also never understood why in a lot of angel books the angels cant feel emotions (or their not meant to feel them) and they always wear white? These are just my thoughts on things dont get upset please. I do agree with a lot of the cliches u guys have put out through.