Reading Teen Fiction

Over the years, I’ve read quite a lot of teen fiction, or young adult fiction and immensely enjoyed it. There are so many gems in the genre, and some amazing writers.

Whilst studying English literature at undergraduate level, I discovered that there was some dissent to even considering teen fiction as literature.

There seems to be a stigma around reading teen fiction, about perhaps the way it is not considered literary enough for it be anything noteworthy. I have personally never understood this concept.

Literary fiction implies that the novel that is published under this name is somehow superior. The Oxford Dictionary describes literary as “Concerning the writing, study, or content of literature, especially of the kind valued for quality of form.” Quality of form implies that it is a well-written piece, or it is valued for it’s form, and it’s use of language, perhaps over the plot of the writing. This could also be seen as marking ‘literary fiction’ as a superior writing genre, as it is ‘quality of form’. It could could also imply that the person writing in this genre is somehow better than someone working in teen fiction, or even children’s fiction.

I’m curious as to why that is. Is there a certain aspect of teen fiction that doesn’t meet a certain criteria? Is there an element of classism that makes it not literary?

Classism wouldn’t be hard to rule out, if it is viewed as not literary, then that implies a substandard. That only ‘real’ readers will reader literary works, and that the ease of access of teen fiction or the aim at younger reading implies that there can not be a literary concept to teen fiction. The ease of access implies that anyone can read it, whereas if it were considered literary, it could imply that it is inaccessible to ‘normal’ readers.

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

What Do You Think Makes A Successful Novel?

What do you think makes a successful novel?

What does a successful novel mean to you? Is it how well it does sales wise, or is a successful novel because you enjoy it?

There are two ways to look at success in a novel, and for me they are both just as important as the other.

Sometimes successful novels that sell well are not always successful novels in other ways. For example, there’s sometimes always the negative connotation that successful popular literature is not successful in the writing department. This is not always necessarily true, but for some, it is not a successful novel to them.

In another sense, a successful novel might not be as popular as some, but is successful in drawing in a reader and is written successfully.

Success within writing is always a matter of personal opinion, and how you understand an authors writing. It’s how you relate to the way the author writes. For example, I personally, really enjoy Patrick Ness’¬†Chaos Walking trilogy, but when I’ve recommended it to people, they have not enjoyed it as much as I have due to the writing style of the book. For me, the novel was a success, for others, they might not agree.

What is your interpretation of success? How do you value a successful novel?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

[Book Review] The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is a well reviewed and well received novel already. First published in 1985, Atwood’s novel has continued to be at the forefront of fiction and feminism since it’s release.

The novel has gained a new interest with the release of the television series with the same name, and it’s readership and understanding continues to grow.

I am one of the readers who’d heard so much about the novel, but had never sat down to read it. I saw the television series and wanted to read it, and I have now finally managed to complete it.

The Handmaid’s Tale was everything I thought it was going to be. The narrative of the story is interesting, it’s written as if the narrator is talking to you through the story. She guides you through the story with an eloquence one can only achieve through the subconscious.

I personally enjoyed¬†The Handmaid’s Tale, it brought up a lot to think about. The tale talks of love, loss, grief, rebellion and many others. The novel is open-ended and doesn’t really draw to any conclusion and only briefly mentions how things came to be the way they were. For me, this was both a positive and a negative, as I so badly wanted to know how this dystopian future even came about, but it also made it feel real. The narrator spoke to you as if you knew how these events happened, and maybe how they ended.

That was both infuriating (in an I really need to know kind of way), and pleasant.

Overall, I enjoyed the novel. The writing flowed well, and talked about some really interesting things that relate scarily to what is happening in our modern times, despite being over thirty years old, and in a dystopian setting.

Would I recommend the book? Yes. Definitely. It would be interesting to discuss with people what they thought of the novel, and what they thought as I know that opinions on this novel vary greatly.