Thursday, September 22, 2011

More on Realism in Teen Books

September 22, 2011

I can hear the comments about my previous post now:

Don’t you think people have a right to write books with realistic endings? What about teens who DON’T think that everything will work out OK, and resent being spoon-fed sappy endings?

Sure I believe that people can write and read all the realism they want to. I’m just saying, “Be honest about it.”

Julie of the Wolves didn’t frolic with the pack through several adventures before her wolf father got killed. The girl on the Island of the Blue Dolphins went through several years but only one book before realizing that her brother was dead. Nor did The Red Pony or The Yearling romp through several humorous books with their young human friends before meeting their respective fates.

Writing a series of books with feel-good endings, only to crash into a sad ending under the guise of “Realism” in the last one seems like a cynical ploy to me, as if the authors realize that nobody will buy succeeding books if the first ones end on downers. If they want the stories to be realistic, then let them write that way from the beginning, so people know what they’re getting into. Then readers can decide for themselves if they want to continue the series.

Especially don’t trick vulnerable teen readers into depressing finales.

That’s all.

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