This has been bugging me for a while, and I need to talk about it with people who visit bookstores as often as I do.
A few weeks ago, I went to my friendly neighborhood Borders to spend a gift card I had received for Christmas.
"Tra la la la la, I know what books I want. Oh but let me just look over here--Ooh, I've been wanting that for a while..." You get the idea.
I walked over to the YA Fiction section, and what do I see? Floor to ceiling Twilight. Books, calendars, board games, you name it, it was there. Believe it or not, I'm used to seeing this. That wall has been there since Breaking Dawn came out, and I've learned to ignore it. What I've started to notice though, is that every shelf is starting to become dominated by shallow, nonsensical, and often supernatural teen romance novels.
Am I the only one who sees the problem here?
Lately, finding a good, solid YA novel has become nearly impossible. I'm not saying they don't exist, but half the time you have to root around on the very bottom or on the very-high-up-over-your-head shelves before you find anything worthwhile.
Now, this isn't meant to be a question or discussion of what these books are about, why they exist or why they annoy me so much. I don't mind if it takes that turn though...
This is about what's being promoted. Think about it. Because of the-vampire-novel-that-must-not-be-named, the same vein (pardon the pun) of teen fiction is being shoved right onto the eye-level shelves.
Do you think this is reducing the amount of quality literature that could be offered to readers?
Is this consistent theme ok because it might promote healthy reading habits? (I doubt it.)
What about the values presented to the young girls who read these novels? I say girls because they are obviously the target audience.
Isn't it weird how YA fiction trends change based on one popular series?
Am I over thinking this?
EDIT: I'm not saying that I think ALL teen paranormal fiction is terrible. There are actually more than a few that I like. I'm saying that it seems like you have to sift through a lot of junk before you find something worthwhile. Though I suppose that's the case in any genre...
I teach kids with reading disabilities and communication delays. Sometimes I feel like bashing my head against a wall to get them to read. If the kid is going to read Twilight or Little Women and Werewolves let them, I say. If it gets them reading and allows them to be successful and find enjoyment in the process then what's to say there is something wrong with that? It allows them to see that reading can be a worthwhile pastime so I am just happy when books are selling and kids are reading it.
As far as the values in the books, well isn't that why we are trying to teach kids and teens to be critical readers? If you find a teen reading Twilight then take that teachable moment and have a values discussion about what is going on in the book. See what they think about Bella's behaviour and Edward's treatment of her. They might not have any experience with that kind of thinking and it's perfectly plausible to do so with Twilight.
my borders is the exactly the same way. i went in to my borders the other day and i was looking for Peeps by Scott Westerfeld and of course i saw the same thing as you did but i ignored it and headed over to the w's and Scott Westerfeld is not there. instead there is some teen romance with a dark cover and fancy lettering being promoted. after searching around i find Peeps on the backside of a bookshelf displaying paranormal at the very bottom shelf.
this has been driving me crazy for awhile now. it's next to impossible to go to the bookstore and just find a book, you have to already know what you want when you get there.
the other point you brought up is about what values these books present to young girls. i don't know about most of these books because i haven't read them but if they are similar to twilight at all the values presented are horrible. the worst one is the need for a boyfriend especially and obsessive controlling one.
i wish more quality books were available and on display for readers who don't want to bother with going on the internet and reading reviews to find a good book.
The popularity of vampire books is annoying me as well... Don't get me wrong, I am a fantasy nerd of the most monumental proportion, and a well written, well thought out, original fantasy or paranormal novel can prove to be just as engaging as anything else.
But when any terribly written, terribly stale book can get a prominent place on Barne's and Noble shelves just because it has a red and black cover and a title like, "The Whispers of the Moonlight" bothes me. Because, as it has been stated, there are tons of writers producing quality fiction for young adults, and their excellent books have to huddle in scared little clusters underneath those monstrosities.