Are books too unrealistic? // Discussion


So I recently read By Your Side by Kasie West and it got me really thinking about realistic vs unrealistic expectations in books. The main character in By Your Side had an anxiety disorder and going to parties made her extremely uncomfortable.

Now maybe I don’t understand anxiety disorders enough, but it seemed to me that someone with an anxiety disorder would not be able to touch and sleep in a sleeping bag with a boy from school who she’d been talking to for like one day.

I did like the book in the end but it seemed a little too good to be true kind of a thing.

I don’t know if I have some form of anxiety or not, but today in Spanish Club we had a chocolate fountain as kind of a Valentine’s Day party and there was a huge crowd in a small classroom and I felt like I couldn’t breathe and I just needed to step outside.

And when the girl in By Your Side has a bag stuffed over her head I physically felt like that was me and while reading I was just imagining myself in that position and then I started like freaking out basically.

Anyway, back to my discussion, I feel like a lot of YA books, especially contemporaries are kind of unrealistic and not okay for teens to take as advice I guess is what I’m trying to say.

Books and how well I can relate

It’s hard for me to find a book that I can really relate with and say YES this character is 100% real.

But then I was like hmm isn’t that one of the reasons I read books though? To escape reality and delve into a new world? Well yes, but it would be nice to resurface from a book and be able to apply it to my own life.

Some problems teens have that are not addressed in book enough include the following:

Acne, makeup, self esteem and confidence issues, high school being hard grades wise, parental problems.

And these just might be my problems that no one else has, but I feel like they aren’t.

Things YA books seem to lack

Most books I read have amazing parents. Like I’m jealous. My relationship with my mother is pretty different than most books. But then again, most books I read have American mothers, while mine is not. That’s another thing not addressed enough, being 1st generation American and dealing with being an American and a different ethnicity at the same time almost.

And don’t even get me started on the free time thing! Maybe it’s just my own individual experience again rising up, but as a junior in high school time is something I often lack.

I have to juggle school, being in the IB program, taekwondo, dance, track/cross country, my family, blogging, and writing. It’s a lot. So when characters in books are able to just drive home from school like it’s nothing, have time to date and hang out and go anywhere without parental permission, I’m just mind boggled. Maybe I do too much? But no, college needs to see extracurriculars obviously, so I don’t know how YA characters can do nothing and still get into college.

And also the lack of buses is something I’ve noticed. Everyone can drive apparently. I get it, characters are seniors and have cars and yada yada. But hello, my mother will never let me drive to school even when I get my license in a few months and DO get a car. She says there’s a perfectly good school bus to take me to school. But then again, that could be my mother/she’s not an American mother showing again.

Also grades! I’m smart. I know I am. Then I started IB and taking harder classes and I’ve been frustrated at my declining grades. The thing is, YA characters seem to be geniuses with no homework, school, studying, or procrastination problems!

Is it just me?

I also started to think maybe I’m not reading diversely enough? But I think my reading is pretty diverse, and I read a lot of YA, which should have problems that Young Adults have, right?

Of course I love my cute contemporaries that have totally unrealistic endings of the girl getting the guy, but it would be nice to be able to relate more to characters.

Huh maybe I should write my own contemporary about a high school girl who’s first generation and has all of the aforementioned issues in her life?

So anyway, I think I’ve prattled on for long enough. Let me know your thoughts! Am I being way too silly or do you feel the same way?

No hate on By Your Side btw, I gave it a 4 star rating.

Stay awesome Sassenachs!-Calliope Fraser

P.s. Everyone is obsessed with junior prom in April, me included! Promposals have already started happening! I really don’t think I will be asked, so I’ll be most likely going with my best friends, which it totally fine with me! 🙂



14 thoughts on “Are books too unrealistic? // Discussion

  1. This was a seriously interesting post. I have to say I do agree with a lot of the problems you noticed, especially the time thing; I have school, math tutoring, therapy, blogging, writing, and a club…not much, but I still barely have enough time to do homework. And then I read about teens in books going to parties and sneaking out, and I think, “how?” But reading your schedule was impressive; kudos to you for doing so much.
    But about your questions with mental health…I’m not an expert, but if you want to read about them, especially anxiety spectrum problems, I highly recommend the Webtoon Dr. Frost. It may be an online comic, but it’s written by a psychology major, so I give it a little more credit than most comics and shows of that nature. And if you want to know the most about the anxiety, maybe start with “The Black Wave” or “Ten Days of Shy Mr. Yeon” episodes. Hope it helps somehow!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s the thing. People are so diverse and so everyone will have different quirks and things about them. Though I really think teens are heavily stereotyped in YA books (with owning cars, dating, hanging out wherever they want without permission). I still needed permission for everything even after becoming a legal adult. Haha. I never did extracurriculars myself (there really wasn’t any because it was not a great school academically) but I’m doing quite well in college.

    I also have the problem with not really seeing myself in books, which is why I don’t usually bother reading contemporary. Anxiety is often treated so poorly. I’ve suffered all my life with extreme anxiety. I won’t talk to strangers or even to relatives that I don’t live with. Most of the time I won’t–can’t make myself leave my home (even to go to doctors), so I don’t get why/how MCs can do all these sorts of things with boys like you mentioned with the sleeping bag. I would die of a major heart attack. xD I’ve never had any close contact with guys, so I would really like to see that kind of thing portrayed. It’s annoying to see anxiety, no matter how moderate or extreme, portrayed as a ‘cutesy’ thing in YA romance.

    But I must say this is an interesting post. 🙂 And, please, write your contemporary. It desperately needs unique stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes the permission thing, teens in YA can just go wherever and do whatever. I have to ask my parents permission to do practically everything! Yes I have yet to find a YA book that portrays anxiety well so far, I’m still on the hunt though!


Don't be shy, share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s