#BroodyBFF Challenge Six
YA Contemporary: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
When I read, I read fantasy. It’s the genre I am most comfortable and familiar with. More so because I love to read about worlds or universes that surpass the realms of reality; however, this past month I went out of my comfort zone and dabbled in a little bit of light contemporary reading. Or I’m just trying to get my heart broken as my fellow bloggers would say.
Out of all the contemporary novels I’ve read this past month, I fell in love with The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis. It is an angry and unapologetic letter to all those who say “boys will be boys” and use that phrase as an excuse for bad behavior.
In The Female of the Species Alex Craft is the epitome of female rage. She is vengeance personified as a teenage girl who know one language and one language only: violence. When Alex’s sister was raped and killed, nobody gave a damn or even tried to bring her murder to justice; but when he walks free, Alex takes matters in her own hands and kills him.
This is how I kill someone.
And I don’t feel bad about it.
One of the reasons I appreciate YA contemporary novels is their raw depiction of taboo subjects. They don’t cut any corners or try to censor the emotions and trauma because of controversial content. The Female of the Species specifically is an effective look at sexual assault and rape culture in society. And McGinnis does not hold back when she describes emotions such as sadness, fear, anger, and helplessness especially when they are in their most raw and pure state. The Female of the Species is one of the most powerful testimonies to the most unforgiving and monstrous parts of our society.
I remember in high school when I used to read a lot of contemporary novels that many of them were “instalove” stories. Where in the span of a couple days a couple would fall in love instantly! The idea of two people falling in love never irritated me but within in a week is just unrealistic.
This isn’t necessarily limited to contemporaries either and as a reminder this one person’s opinion not the communities’, but the most ugliest thing I can imagine about YA fiction is how stories romanticize mental health to make it desirable. Some might say these stories are tragically beautiful, but it’s actually taking advantage of those who are suffering with a life consuming issue and passing it off as some quirky personality trait. It’s despicable.
If you’re thinking about suicide or know someone who is thinking about suicide please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) in the U.S. To find a suicide helpline outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org.
To learn more about and raise awareness for mental health, please visit NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness.