Three teen fiction topics that need more attention

I’ve been watching a number of teen movies lately. They are, to my taste, average despite the underlying story being quite intriguing. My understanding is that they are all adaptations of novels.

I’ve nothing against vampires and werewolves et al, but I do wonder whether or not the entire vampire / werewolf scene has been milked dry.

I love everyday life being a bit different. I love that theme in any story, and that is of course the crux of many of these tales. Somebody has a normal life until something far from normal happens or befriends them. Or, as popularised by stories such as The Hunger Games, life is ordinary but set in a grim, dystopian world of constant struggle.

For a long time films have been as important to me as books. Good film adaptations such as Stephanie Meyer’s Hunger Games trilogy, are compelling. Not least because they are well acted and well produced. Jennifer Lawrence cannot, for me, put a foot wrong. But I’m becoming disillusioned by the glossing of the movie scene. I’m tempted to call it over-production but I really don’t know enough about film production to offer that kind of a criticism.

I do feel that films / stories in the mainstream could be a lot grittier and dispense with the Hollywood gloss.
Kes, for example, has no gloss. It’s an old story and very much of its time, but it’s also a very real tale of a young boy in a working class setting. I do class the book as a teen book and I remember with some fondness reading it in school.
Lad: A Yorkshire Story offers similar vibes and is superbly acted.
I also remember reading Orwell’s 1984 in school. There were some parallels between the two stories for me that centred around oppression but of course in almost every respect they were quite different. I think these stories are wonderful for young adults to read. There are many more.

Some concepts could be really well handled by some good young acting talent in today’s films. To that end there are some intriguing concepts that I think need exploring a little further. Here are just a few.

  • Stories that scare but are not necessarily horror and don’t necessarily involve monsters
  • Stories that centre on the real life struggle with poverty and prejudice
  • Stories that involve serious adult issues such as domestic violence and alcoholism

I’m not suggesting that story time should be transformed into a lesson in morals and standards. I just think that there is an appetite for this level of grit in teen fiction that borrows directly from real life.

I am by no means an oracle when it comes to teen and young adult fiction so I would be keen to hear from anybody who can pick out stories that focus on the things I’ve listed.