Flee While You Can: Why You Should Run From the Clutches of YA Fiction
by Alyssa Roat
I have a very important message:
DO NOT READ YA FICTION!
I have escaped the clutches of YA fiction just long enough to deliver this message. If you find it, don’t come looking for me. I am beyond hope.
I write to tell you of the dangers lurking between the seemingly innocent pages. Why should you avoid these terrors? Read on to find out.
1.You will not be able to put it down.
“That cover looks nice,” you think. “I’ll just glance through it.” Fool! Once you begin reading, you will not be able to put it down. Before you know it, five hours have passed, night has fallen, and you have read 500 pages. YA fiction excels in the dark arts of gripping cliffhangers and breathless page-turners. Don’t be pulled in!
2. In this addiction, you can’t stop at one.
If you are foolish enough to finish one book, don’t think you will be free. One book leads to another. And another. And another. The art of the sequel is strong in YA fiction. Your yearning for more time with your favorite characters must be satisfied. After that series ends, you have to find another to fill the void. And another. And another. And another…
3. You may find yourself entrenched in a fandom.
You may think discussing your favorite works with others similarly entranced may help you. False! You will make new friends through the power of the fandom. These new friends will introduce you to more and more books with which you will fall in love. You will lead each other farther and farther down the dark path. Complete strangers may influence you to consume a brand-new seven-book series!
4. You will be emotionally wrecked.
You think you will be able to remain aloof? Ha! I’ve seen the most stoic movie-goers bawl with their noses in books. YA characters are too young to be as cynical and jaded as adults, but old enough to face mature trials and pain. They are impossible not to root for, and they all seem like snippets of ourselves. The death of a character can feel like the death of a dear friend.
5. You may not be able to handle your improved brain power.
Reading improves your focus and concentration. You may be able to focus and complete tasks with hitherto undreamt-of ease. You will find knowledge of a myriad of subjects rattling around in your brain from sci-fi, historical fiction, and more. Your memory will improve as you store complex plots in your mind. The relaxation brought by agonizing over a book may make your problems fade away. What will you do with these newfound powers? You might be overcome!
6. Your new capacities for communication and empathy may bring you into contact with humans.
Literature teaches us to understand other perspectives. It gives us a broader vocabulary and greater ability to express ourselves. The connection of reading the same stories brings people closer together. But watch out! When you attain these greater degrees of communication and empathy, you may find yourself desiring to interact with and help other humans. You may develop a strange something resembling a social life! (When you’re not reading, that is.)
So now you see. Whatever you do, DO NOT READ YA FICTION. Don’t accept the letter from Hogwarts. Don’t enter your name for the Hunger Games. Don’t join Dauntless. Don’t listen to the Giver. Run away from Camp Half-Blood.
I must go now. It calls to me, and I can’t resist. Heed my warning, or this will be your fate, too.
Alyssa Roat is a professional writing major at Taylor University. Hailing from Tucson, Arizona, her love of words blossomed while she spent her days hiding from the scorching desert sun in dim rooms with thick books. She emerged from her dark, bookish cave to attend college, where her articles were featured in several publications. Now, she is often found writing and editing in the much cooler sunlight of Indiana.