In the past month or so there have been several different articles online that say that “so and so young adult author is the new ‘savior’ of young adult literature.”
Lately it’s been John Green, author of the immensely popular “The Fault in Our Stars” and Veronica Roth, author of the “Divergent” trilogy that have received the title of “savior” and really, there is a major problem with people claiming this.
If we exclude taking into account the genders of both of the above authors (because that could be a whole opinion piece in itself and others on the Internet have exhausted that argument), what is left to want to know is why people lately have even been looking for “saviors” of young adult literature. What lately has even suggested that it needs saving?
Are people tired of hearing about all the dystopian, paranormal, contemporary, romance, science fiction and fantasy, mystery, horror and historical fiction coming out of the young adult market that it needs something “fresh” to save it? Because those aren’t the same book genres that exist in middle grade and adult books?
To assume that the young adult market needs help is pretentious. It has been doing pretty fine by itself without anybody having to assign the best of the best of the market. Millions of people around the world read young adult books, so where in any of those millions did someone scream “we need to be saved?”
Young adult literature is not a damsel in distress, and it does not need one supreme author to validate the market as a whole for people who don’t even read young adult books or write them.
To even assign a “savior” is discrediting every young adult author’s personal achievements and pretty much says “sorry so and so author, but you haven’t made enough of an impact on your market. You’re not important enough.”
Which is honestly more than a little messed up, because tons of authors/books in the market have inspired so many different people, and everyone has different tastes in what they even like to read within the young adult section.
Are we really going to exclude the hundred of authors that came before Green and Roth because these two just so happened to be popular currently and their books just opened to garner movie deals?
Because of that, it’s really impossible to say who has been doing the best. Yes, some books/authors have ended up more popular than others, but that doesn’t mean they’re “saviors.” It just means that a lot of people liked those books and were inspired by them.
So really, we need to stop with the whole “saviors” thing. Young adult literature didn’t ask to be “saved” and the people who actively read/write young adult books don’t appreciate being told that their preferred area was dying to begin with.
The young adult market will keep marching on like it always has, because it’s the hero of its own story. Let people decide for themselves which books influence them, and don’t assume everyone will share the same “savior.” Like we even need one.