Friday, August 12, 2011

A Cup of Coffee with Reggie (7) - Families in YA

A Cup of Coffee with Reggie is going to be a discussion post feature in which I discuss anything book-related. They're just normal (sometimes random) discussion posts that are named A Cup of Coffee with Reggie because it's like having a cup of coffee with me and listening (or in this case reading) about my bookish opinions. It will be a random feature here at TUBL that can pop up anywhere from twice a day to twice a year.

Today's Topic:

Do you think there's a lack of focus on families in YA?

Lately, I've been thinking about the young adult genre and how most young adult books don't really have a lot to do with family. Sometimes, the protagonist doesn't have a family, other times, it seems like the protagonist doesn't have a family when he/she actually does. For me, I miss that familial interaction in books. Lately, it all seems to be romantic interaction or friend-related drama in YA novels.

There are some books though, such as Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala and Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer that focus on families and rely on their opinions of the protagonist quite heavily. I love how the familial expectations in some books really affect the protagonist and his/her actions.

What's your opinion? What do you guys think of families in YA? Familial interactions? YAY or NAY?


Marce August 13, 2011 at 12:42 AM  

I have an issue with the lack of parents in YA, it is not my favourite genre. When I have reviewed books in the past, I will discuss about the lack or my pleasure if they were included.

Rachael August 13, 2011 at 2:32 AM  

I think there should be more family interactions in YA. Teenage years are a time of a lot of change in families. The teenager is growing up and taking on more and more adult responsibilities. The stereotypical rebellious stage begins.

The parents then have to deal with this change. Some parents, like my mom, deal with it by allowing the teenager to grow and take on a more adult role. Other parents, like my aunt, don't know how to deal with their babies growing up.

I think this is an overlooked area of real life that has potential for a lot of conflict. There really isn't a lot of family interaction in YA today. Half the time the parents are either dead or missing. Even in contemporary it seems like the parents aren't really around that much.

Shelbie, Amanda and Jenni August 13, 2011 at 5:37 AM  

I love family involvement in books, especially when it involves parents. Recently I read Paradise by Jill Alexander and Misfit by Jon Skovron which both had a lot of parent interaction, and I thought it made the stories way better. But I don't think I've seen a lack of family involvement in most YA novels lately. It just doesn't seem to be the focus point of the books. - Amanda

Rhianna August 13, 2011 at 6:12 AM  

What a great topic Reggie! I was just thinking about this as I read JULIET IMMORTAL. My personal experiences as a teenager were very strong in formulating what I wanted from a family when I'd start one of my own and so the lacking in a lot of YA surprises me.

One of the key reasons I fell in love with the Harry Potter series was the Weasleys. A big family who didn't have a lot but they always had one another. I had a friend with a family like that and much like Harry and Hermione spent lots of time with the Weasleys so did I with my friends' big family.

As I sit here trying to think about YA families I'm coming up pretty blank. It's kind of sad. Entwined comes to mind with the twelve sisters. Dylan's grandparents from The Marked Son also popped into my head. Otherwise I am just stumped.

Jana August 13, 2011 at 2:32 PM  

Yes! I understand the author needs there to be absent or uninvolved parents so their MC has free reign for the story, but it drives me nuts! That's why I like books set in boarding school because at least this gives a good excuse for absentee parents!

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