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.
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! 🙂