Sick-Lit The New Trend? YA Books That May Harm Your Kids ‘Apparently’

Before I dieThe Fault in Our StarsThirteen Reasons WhyThe Lovely Bones

Do you recognize any of the popular titles above?
I personally haven’t read all of them, but I have it on good authority that they are excellent books.
Well watch out, because this genre is now being labeled ‘sick-lit’.
This post is a reaction to this article which you many want to check out.

Sick-lit is being defined as novels that deal with complex issues relating to death and disease, so cancer, depression, eating disorders and many other important issues relevant to modern society that have formed some great contemporary books. Yet I can’t help but feel the term ‘sick-lit’ is trying to sound derogatory somehow, giving the genre a negative slant. I mean, it’s not exactly a tasteful sounding label is it?

Like every book that becomes uber popular, moral panic will ensue. Cue the release of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars capturing the hearts of teenagers everywhere and you’re bound to find a crowd of concerned onlookers close behind. John Green’s book follows the story of two teenage cancer patients, it is by no means an original idea but of course we can’t let a trend go by without analyzing the catastrophic implications it may have on the youth of today. Ohh no, because we are SO impressionable. (In case you couldn’t tell by now, yes this is a rant. :P) Who else remembers (and is trying desperately to forget) the uproar about female characters in near abusive relationships brought to light by Twilight and the rising popularity of paranormal romance? Despite the fact that these kinds of stories have been around for decades in various incarnations.  And what would The Hunger Games be without all those concerned parents?
I’m sure everyone knows of the moral panics that ensued from the introduction of TV and video games?
Yeah there’s a pattern here.

But of course, the reason young adult books are always under such scrutiny is the belief that teenagers are reading them at an impressionable age when they are trying to make sense of the world and are looking to the media, literature and any other sources to shape who they should be.
One author Amanda Craig is quoted in the following article that sparked my sudden need to write this blog post:

Amanda Craig was on the CBC’s radio show The Current last month, arguing that the glamorization of victimhood that these books offer can lead isolated teens into self-destructive behaviour. Craig had told the Daily Mail she had already seen the result of this, when a 12-year-old girl she knew read a YA novel called Red Tears, about a girl who self-harms.’
– Via Huffington Post

This suggestion seriously makes my blood boil. Now I don’t know anything about the author being quoted and whether she has any understanding or knowledge on the subject, but in my opinion the idea that books depicting important issues relevant to teens being dangerous is utterly ridiculous, and until I have clear evidence otherwise, unfounded. A  story about anorexia or self harming is not going to suddenly make a teenager do it themselves. If you read a book about someone putting their foot through a glass table, jumping off a cliff or painting themselves orange you don’t put the book down and and copy them do you?
No, because humans are not mindless drones, and I bet pretty much every case where a ‘sick-lit’ book has been accused of influencing teenagers or causing them psychological problems if you dug a little deeper, would reveal a much more logical explanation. Again I am not qualified in the subject but I imagine those people are quite likely to have existing issues or a predisposition and the book acts as a trigger that brings those issues to light. You could also debate the chicken or the egg, because of course, those that are dealing with psychological issues already are more likely to gravitate towards books that will help them understand themselves and what they are going through a little better.

Perhaps you’re wondering why this matters to me so much anyway….well because as a (just about) teenager myself, I think this is exactly the kind of book young adults should be reading. There are so many important messages these novels have to share. They tackle hard hitting subjects and emotions that teens don’t necessarily have access to or can talk to their parents about. They help widen your perspective and understanding of others. They are not just about death, but the beauty of life too, how to appreciate the little things and see the good in bad situations. We live in a world that can be unfair, frustrating and cruel and you become more aware of that the older you get. ‘Sick-lit’ draws attention to the fact that if you look hard enough, you may just find something amazing, even in the darkest of places. In the wise words of Joss Whedon – ‘Very occasionally, if you pay really close attention, life doesn’t suck’.
Everyone reads for different reasons, entertainment, education, escapism etc., but personally as a younger teen I know what I was really searching for between the lines on the page was the truth, and that is something this genre has in spades.

So what do you think lovely readers? Do you like the phrase ‘sick-lit’? Do you feel that these books are a threat to young adults or are you annoyed as I am? I would love to get your opinions on this one, and feel free to disagree with me. 😛

Image Sources:
The Lovely Bones Cover: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12232938-the-lovely-bones
Thirteen Reasons Why Cover: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1217100.Thirteen_Reasons_Why
The Fault in Our Stars Cover: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11870085-the-fault-in-our-stars
Before I Die Cover: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8582039-before-i-die

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45 thoughts on “Sick-Lit The New Trend? YA Books That May Harm Your Kids ‘Apparently’

  1. I completely agree with you! I read the Lovely bones when I was about 14/15 and I thought it was a really great book. In no way was it depressing or suggestive in making me do anything. In fact, the book very much influenced my thoughts positively!

    • Thanks. 🙂 I’m glad to hear that you were able to enjoy The Lovely Bones at a youngish age, I haven’t actually read it yet but it’s sitting on my bookshelf waiting patiently. It angers me that people seem to underestimate young adults intelligence and what they are able to emotionally handle. Of course, it’s never going to be one size fits all, there will be some exceptions but for the most part reading these books can be enjoyable and eye opening.

      Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  2. You say that the quote prompted by Amanda Craig prompted this post. I noticed you only included half her quote here. The full quote reads: ‘Craig had told the Daily Mail she had already seen the result of this, when a 12-year-old girl she knew read a YA novel called Red Tears, about a girl who self-harms. Craig claims the book spread “like wildfire” in the girl’s class, causing several other girls to try self-mutilation.’

    I have been working with teenagers for the past eight years as teacher, youth pastor and counsellor, and I’m afraid Craig’s fear is based on reality. Of course it won’t have that effect on all teens, but those who are already in the early stages of depression, for example, could read a story like this and indeed interpret the behaviour as being “glamorised”. They identify so strongly with the character that they start to emulate the character’s behaviour.

    That’s not to say it’s fair to blame the genre, any more than it is fair to blame Dragonball-Z or WWF for boys fighting (when I was a boy it was Power Rangers that got the blame). Sure, some teens are impressionable and will be influenced by these types of books, but teens also have these things called parents who are responsible for raising them and teaching them about life. If parents were to also read these books and use them to engage their teens in honest conversations they can actually do a world of good.

    As a counsellor I’ll definitely be checking out these books and, who knows, might even write one myself one day. Goodness knows I have enough material 😀

    • Hi, and thanks for the long considered comment! 🙂

      I didn’t include the last part because I couldn’t find any further information about the incident online so. Therefore, I couldn’t comment on it with any level of knowledge about what actually happened. When I said ‘I don’t know … whether she has any understanding or knowledge on the subject’ I meant in terms of psychological knowledge and how close she was to the situation. Did she hear about the topic through others, or was she actively involved in the situation, dealing with it and investigating it. As this wasn’t mentioned I thought it was a bit of a mute point.

      Ohh in that case you must have a very interesting perspective on all of this! That is exactly what I am getting at though, I’m not saying that these books have never harmed anyone, but that they are not the issue, and in those cases there were probably already pre-existing issues, those that were already beginning to suffer with something such as depression in which case the book is a result or trigger of it. But it could also be argued that the same issues would have arisen in natural progression anyway, could it not?

      As for your last paragraph, I totally agree! What annoys me is when people blame the genre itself due to the annoying help of the media. These kinds of assumptions can be traced back through history as you note with the Power Rangers, lol, and that is what annoys me so much! Also as you’ve said, if parents are concerned they should read the books themselves before judging them so harshly. Thanks again for giving your view! I always find you learn the most when you talk to people with varying opinions. 🙂

  3. I agree with you to be honest.

    This kind of uproar happened in the 1950s when William Golding’s Lord of the Flies came out.

    If books are going to have teenagers as the primary characters, then you’re going to get teenaged issues and insecurities depicted.

    Old people should just deal with it, yo.

    For every isolated teen who decides to try and become a vampire, another one will be inspired to come out of their shell.

    • Hey Michael, glad to hear you agree. 🙂

      Yeah, I think that’s exactly what bugs me so much. The fact that this kind of thing happens over and over again, but people still never learn to attempt to understand something and its affects before they judge it! Teenage issues are a natural progression in teenage books…or they wouldn’t be targeted at them, lol!

      Haha they should, and who knew you were so street? :L

      And I love your last line, that should be one of your author quotes seriously, lol. 🙂 It really sums up the ridiculousness of it all while making a valid point at the same time!

  4. I hadn’t head of “Sick-lit” until now, but it does have a derogatory sound to it, no doubt about it.
    What will they come up with next?
    Should we start burning these so called “sick-lit” books. Would that protect impressionable young minds? Give me a break.

    • I hadn’t heard of the term until last week, although I was aware of the genre. Hopefully it won’t stick and will be discarded for a more tasteful one, eh?

      Eugh, tell me about it! I’m utterly against book censorship and giving books age ratings which I’ve seen come up as a suggestion over the years, and this issue just seems like an extension of that. Plus, the more people try and protect young adults from reading these kinds of books, the more they will want to read them!
      What are we going to do with them, Emma? 😛

  5. My first book dealt with teenage suicide, self harm and depression. One of the things I did was make sure it did NOT glamourise it in the least. I made it quite clear that this wasn’t a pretty last image of yourself for the people you leave behind.

    One of the first people to read it had a self-destructive daughter (she survived and grew out of it) and she told me if she’d read the book when her daughter was going through what she was going through, it would have helped. That comment meant a lot to me.

    I immediately dislike the label sick-lit; sounds entirely derogatory, but the media has to have a box to put us in. It’s by no means a new box – libraries still ban CATCHER IN THE RYE, after all.

    Not all teenage stories have happy endings, because not all teenagers lives are joyous and full of sunshine. Some of them don’t get out of it alive, and some of them scrape through by the skin of their teeth.

    That’s the truth we’re looking for when we write YA, and alongside gothic romances for ageless vampires is the teenager who is fat, the one who is bullied to suicide, the unloved and the unwanted. They need to know they aren’t alone, that others have been there and survived, that they have a right to their tales as well.

    • Hey Tony,

      I didn’t realize you had done a book on the topic. I’m glad you actively chose to make that choice. I do admit that there are some books out there that are a bit too on the grey side for my liking, for instance the Jay Asher book pictured above looks like it might be a little close to the line, making the situation a little too glamorous to some people who dream of revenge from bullying (but I haven’t actually read it so I can’t make that judgement clearly) but the majority of the time this isn’t the case!

      Ohh wow, I’m not surprised that’s a great comment to get! 🙂 See that is one of my other huge arguments, instead of focusing on the negative implications they should take a survey and see just how many people have been helped positively by these books, because I’m sure it’s a lot. I know they helped me personally in several ways over the years.

      I’m glad you agree and that it’s not just me, I thought people might think I was overeating… I know it’s ‘sick-lit’ because the characters have illnesses in varying ways, but I feel like the label is a bit of a double edged sword, as in at the same time it also comes across/seems to be a bit of an insult!
      I hate the damn boxes I really do, in fact, I don’t even like that there is a genre YA and that’s why I don’t use it as a tag on my blog… but that’s a whole other rant…LOL. 😛

      Really well put in the last two paragraphs and I couldn’t agree more, to me, these books are vital to helping teens feel like they are not alone and many of the things they are feeling are in fact normal. Thanks for the great comment Tony. 😀

  6. OMG, this type of thing really pisses me off, and I totally agree with your point of view!! I don’t know what is wrong with people nowadays that they seem to thrive on creating issues where there are none. I would like to extend this a little further if you don’t mind. If you read a book about depression, you will become depressed. If you watch a horror movie about a serial killer, you will go on a mass killing spree. If you play a violent video game, you will swing toward violent tendencies. What a load of crap!! The one that angered me the most was when people wanted to ban the Harry Potter books! Come on!! If kids are raised with sensible parents who teach them the difference between real and imaginary, good and bad, and health and unhealthy behaviours, that’s what matters. My boys have been raised watching horror movies, reading fantasy novels, and playing war-like video games since they were just little guys, and they are both very well adjusted young men, but we were always there to talk over things they saw or read to make sure that they could process it properly to determine if and how it related to real life. If people would stop bitching about everything and instead actually sit down and communicate with their children, that would be half the battle. We always made it a point to sit down together as a family for dinner, and we used that time to discuss books the kids were reading in school or at home, movies we had seen, and life in general. Some very important issues were dealt with during those dinnertimes. Ok, I’d better stop now Becky – you’ve got me ranting too LOL!! This was an excellent blog, and I’m sure the comments are going to go on for days :). It should be interesting!

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one!!! 🙂 Exactly why do people need to make an issue out or something when there really isn’t one? There are far more important serious things they could be focusing on.
      Go ahead, extending is fun. Haha I love your examples, it’s so true and it frustrates me all the time. What I often wonder is if people even realise how ridiculous it actually is or if they don’t see the pattern. I guess it would depend on how observant people are and whether they have been taught it I guess…
      Agghh yeah I heard about the banning or Harry Potter in some places too!! That just seems utterly absurd to me! Harry Potter is very clearly fantasy and exactly as you say and if parents were really worried they should just read the book with their child to explain parts they think are grey areas – although I would argue that not even this is needed with HP!

      Horror films, fantasy books and video games, I approve. 😉 I’m glad you let them do all those things because I know some parents myself that were strict about those sorts of things, and I really just find it very sad, because their kids are missing out. And you really hit the nail on the head, as long as parents are there to mediate 98% of the time there wouldn’t even be an issue!

      Ha ha I know right? It’s hard not to once you get started! I really had to reel myself in with this blog posts because I just kept coming up with more and more things to talk about and I knew if I made it too long people would tune out or not bother to read it, lol!

      Ohh I hope they do, I really do. It’s so interesting getting varying opinions and it’s a great way for people to point out things you might not have thought of! Thanks for the great comment Cindy. 😀

  7. My take is this- if you’re going to take on deep issues in your writing, you’d damn well do them justice. Not many authors are capable of that. I don’t think this means that their crappy works are going to warp teens any more than teens are already warped by nature, but it does mean that a lot of their works are really terrible and not worth reading. Which I find insulting as a reader- if I’m putting my time into reading your stuff, especially if you’re delving into a difficult topic, you should do a good job. But that’s true of both adult and YA fiction. I do think that the bad relationship and abusive s.o. trend is worrying, but it’s a symptom of how badly we regard love, and not the cause of the main problem.

    I’ll see myself off my soapbox now…

    • I completely agree that it’s important to do it well and accurately. I have to say I haven’t really come across a book that tackles it badly yet, but that’s probably because I’m quite selective with my books and I’ve only read a handful of the ones in this area, which is not much when compared to some other people. One that really sticks out to me though is Before I Die. I read it when I was 13/14 and in had such an impact on me. It was beautiful written and perfectly pitched and it made me think a lot. I also remember it being very enlightening, I think it was one of those books that gave me a slice of truth when I was searching for it, and the idea that a book like that could be labelled dangerous really angers me!
      I definitely agree about the quality as well, it is insulting to pick up a badly written book especially when it is on such a difficult topic. Makes you wonder how it got past the publishers…
      I agree that the abusive relationship trend is worrying, but I also acknowledge that it’s not really something new. Teenagers like to feel out of control and in a dangerous environment and safe at the same time, even adults too. It seems to be an inherent human thing, although that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing and there are again, a lot of insultingly bad stories out there that take the concept on!

      Ha ha, feel free to stay on your soapbox if you want. 🙂

  8. I think they provide a great sequeway for parents to discuss difficult issues. Unfortunately a lot of parents are chicken or not up to the task or something and feel the “if we never talk about it and they never know about it, it will never be an issue.”
    I don’t have kids, but I hope I would answer questions honestly to foster an open dialogue. I didn’t feel I could talk to my parents and I think I could have avoided so much if I had been able to and quite a bit more prepared for what is out there. Luckily there were books… 🙂

    • I totally agree Elisa! I think it is really important for parents to talk about these things to help their children understand and learn, it’s a shame when parents won’t discuss it.
      I think this is where the importance of these books really come in, when parents won’t discuss issues teens need somewhere to turn to look for the answers. There is always the internet but I tend to think books explain it much better and in a clearer way. You really can learn a lot from a book. 🙂

      I’m sure you would being so pro book, 🙂 especially having learnt from the past experiences of your parents.

  9. Agree with every word. I think people are mad because teens aren’t the typical cardboard cutouts people want them to be. If it weren’t for books like those in sick-lit, I wouldn’t have survived my teen years.

    • Thanks, 🙂 it’s definitely an interesting topic! I couldn’t agree more and it is very frustrating. I’m glad that these books were able to help you during your teen years, I know they helped me in many ways too.
      That’s another thing that bugs me, people often only look for the negative side effects, just think about how many people these books have helped!

  10. I don’t have a problem with the category title of “sick-lit”.
    But everything else about blocking teens from reading it pisses me off too.
    I don’t remember all the books I read as a kid/teen, but there was a ton of inappropriate stuff.
    Mostly because I was reading adult fiction by then. (Side note, don’t read a dozen John Saul books in a week. It makes sleeping…difficult.)
    This just looks like a bunch of people who claim to know better trying to impose rules on others for their own good.
    If a kid/teen/young adult enjoys reading to experience other views of the world, let em have at it.

    /rant

    • Really? That’s interesting, a friend of mine said they didn’t think it was insulting either, but I’m really not so sure. It seems like a bit of a double edged sword insult (if there is such a thing) on the one hand it’s about illness so (sick) but at the same time it seems to be implying it’s sick if you like it as a reader – but that may just be me over-analyzing!

      Me too! I dread the day they start putting rantings on books, hopefully it will never happen. Kids see inappropriate stuff all the time and in a way that is just part of growing up. Also, the more someone young is blocked from doing something, the more they will want to do it!
      Haha check on the John Saul.

      I’m glad you agree and that it’s not just me getting annoyed by this, thanks for adding your two cents El Guapo! 🙂

  11. The idea of calling something “sick-lit” is insulting to any person who has enjoyed any of those books (of the titles you mention, I’ve only read The Lovely Bones and I really enjoyed it). I think this comes out of many people’s unnecessary desire to overly categorize everything, and someone who had a big enough audience decided that they didn’t like one or more of those books and the name somehow stuck.

    This also sounds strangely enough like yet another example of people trying to get someone else to raise their kids so that they don’t have to pay attention to them. If parents would take the time to actually pay attention to their children, any problems that may arise from reading these books could probably be solved easily. Here’s a novel concept as well for any parents out there, take the time to read the books with your children, and then discuss them afterwards. You’ll both be better off for it in the end.

    • Hi Adam, I’m glad you agree that the term seems derogatory, not everyone does but I definitely feel that there’s an underlying snarky side to it. Notice as well that sick-lit sounds very similar to chick-lit which tends to suggest the genre is being pigeon holed for girl only, something which definitely shouldn’t be the case! I’m glad you enjoyed The Lovely Bones – I remember reading your review and it inspired me to purchase the book myself. 🙂

      That’s a good point I agree wholeheartedly about your comment on categories, there are far too many for my liking. I don’t even really like the fact that there is YA, I hate the idea that certain people will be put off great books because they are associated with a certain age range. I agree with your comments about parents as well, so many simple problems could be solved if they just communicated.

  12. If you think adolescents aren’t impressionable, then try letting your boyfriend watch violent pornography next time before you have sex (okay, this is a sarcastic suggestion—really DON’T DO IT—I repeat, DON’T DO IT) the result would illustrate how extremely, frighteningly impressionable adolescents are.

    ” A story about anorexia or self harming is not going to suddenly make a teenager do it themselves.” — you’re right, it’s not sudden, but these stories can and do have an influence on peoples behaviour. Anyone reading these books who for whatever reason can really step into the protagonists shoes (sharing their pain or fears is usually a quick way for people to associate with a character) will be most easily influenced by that characters actions.

    If you feel that sick-lit is safe, then it might be that you’re a healthy young person who doesn’t associate strongly with such pained protagonists. Some people aren’t like you, and that’s whom these books are dangerous for—not all youths in general!

    I’m a teacher-in-training, and I think that getting kids reading is so important that I would let almost any young person read sick-lot if they wanted to. However, especially for the ‘vulnerable/less stable’ kids I mention above, this needs to be paired with discussion from parents or teachers to put the things they’ve read into context.

    Naturally, that goes for everything kids see in life. The evening news is sometimes scarier than sick-lit, after all! Always talk to your kids to help them develop a healthy worldview.

    (Mature post, mature comment. I hope you don’t mind.) 🙂

    • Hmmm I not sure exactly what you are defining impressionable as…care to operationalise? I know if we’re speaking in psychological terms the whole human race is actually very impressionable, but as far as I am aware from research there isn’t that big of a difference between young adults and adults. Also I am speaking solely about how impressionable they are in relation to books – I am not denying over a long period of time these novels could have an effect on people already suffering with issues, (as I mentioned in my post) what I object to is those that talk down to teenagers and those that seem to think a perfectly happy and normal child could be influenced by those books, because those people are out there and this tends to happen mostly because they are ignorant because they haven’t read the books themselves.

      I do not really consider myself to be a perfect healthy young person as I have struggled with issues over the years, I don’t have it as bad as a lot of people that’s for sure, but I have had to deal with certain psychological issues which I won’t go into on this blog post. I would also argue there is almost no such thing as a well adjusted teenager. A lot goes on behind closed doors and again this is why I feel these books are so important. I do not know one person in my life who has not struggled with psychological issues in varying degrees. I have noted that it is not one size fits all, a very small percentage will be affected, but I would argue that the majority of the blame for those issues should not be blamed on a book!
      I do wholehearted agree that if parents are concerned about a book their child is reading they should discuss it, or even read the book first.
      What also bugs me about this article is the fact that it only focuses on the negative, what it doesn’t look at is the amount of people these books have helped and I bet this would far outweigh the bad.

      Of course I don’t mind! This is exactly why I wrote the blog post, I love having discussions and I always find you learn a lot more about opposing arguments (and your own) by communicating with people you disagree with, lol. 🙂 All I can do is give my own teenage opinion as someone who is close to the subject (as a teenager myself) and what I have learnt so far of Psychology. I cannot say I necessarily agree with all of your arguments, but that does not mean by any means that you are wrong.

      Thanks for the long, considered, thought out comment, it is much appreciated! 🙂

  13. What a wonderful post!

    I agree with you that it’s awful that people think a book like The Fault In Our Stars could lead to people wanting to feel victimised. What the hell? I read that book and while it was heartbreakingly sad, what I took from it is that everyone has the capacity to love fiercely, no matter how long or in what circumstance. It also taught me that it’s important to live your life fully and enjoy what you have in the present. Are these bad things to teach children?

    However, I do agree that I don’t think it is appropriate for a 12 year to be reading about self-harm. From personal experience I’ve found that the information about self-harm has increased exponentially over the past ten years and it can, like you suggested, become a trigger for people who are already unhappy. I’m not saying that a single book will have this effect, but I also think that this prevalence of cutting and ‘everybody’s doing it’ mentality normalises it, and teenagers may not understand the severity of what it is they’re doing.

    On the other hand, talking about these issues can provide a lot of depth. There’s this Australian book, Looking For Alibrandi, where a character suicides and it’s heart-wrenching. While many teenagers may view suicide as glamorous, exciting or dramatic, books like Looking For Alibrandi emphasise the devastation that follows.

    Honestly I think that people need to get worked up for the sake of being worked up. And in all honesty, with the popularity of the Internet and what is so easily available for teenagers (and anyone else for that matter), we shouldn’t be worrying about books that focus on kids with cancer. Seriously?!

    • Thank you. 🙂 It was really nice to write a discussion post, I haven’t had the opportunity to do one in a while!

      I agree! I haven’t read The Fault in Our Stars yet (although I desperately want to but my tbr pile can’t take the strain right now) and that is not the impression I got of it. I’m glad as a person who has read the book you agree. Phew. 🙂 What you’re describing is exactly why I think these books are so important, they make you appreciate the life you do have and also help to put a lot of your own problems in perspective, as well as helping you understand the feelings of others!

      Hmm yeah that is a very good point, and I think the self-harm area of books is the only one that do concern me slightly as well. I think it would be okay if parents say down and explained it with their kids but the majority of the time this unfortunately isn’t the case, and I can see how already vulnerable teens may latch onto this particular issue more easily. I still stand by the fact that these books are not dangerous for the majority of people though, my main worry is that this fear of ‘dangerous sick-lit’ will be generalised to any teenager rather than keeping it in perspective.

      I’ve never heard of Looking For Alibrandi but it sounds like a great book dealing with a complex issue in a mature way, as it should be. 🙂 I may have to look that one up.

      Ha ha I totally agree with you on that too! I always find it funny when parents worry about what teens are reading when they have already seen things the same (if not worse) on TV, it’s like the thought just doesn’t occur sometimes.

      Thanks for the long considered comment! 🙂

  14. I agree with you, the term ‘sick-lit’ does sound really negitive, and there’s always going to be that argument of ‘oh this causes this..’ but you get that in film and even music too, which has been happening for years. And like you say, surely there would have to be other issues at play for you to make the jump and copy it yourself, and while it does happen, there are a lot of times it doesn’t (if you see what I mean.) I love Nicholas Sparks books and ‘A walk to remember’ and ‘The Last song’ are two of my favourite films/movies, and again, like you say, they can also show you the hopeful and inspiring side of a situation. And to add to that, these things do actually happen in real life so it’s making people aware too. I’ve really wanted to read ‘The Fault in our Stars’ since I saw a review of it online that absolutely praised it and even though it’s sad, it was put across that it makes you appreciate life. “it has moments of complete and utter sadness but still brings in that little bit of joy about being alive.” I spose this argument is just one of those things that is going to happen because the books are popular at the moment.

    • Thanks S, I’m glad you agree, I was a little worried that it may just have been me over-reacting at first, and people would just be like ‘huh’ lol. But it seems that most other people seem to get what I am talking about. 🙂
      Ahh I know and it annoys the hell out of me! That’s a good point too, I had forgotten about music temporarily, who could forget all the drama over rock and roll?! Sheesh. But guess what, we’re all still here today listening to it and we’re not any worse off.
      Yeah I get exactly what you mean. 🙂 I loved The Last Song too, I haven’t read A Walk to Remember yet but I really want to, I saw the trailer for the film and thought it looked really good, so of course the book immediately went onto my wishlist. 😉 I loved the way the characters evolved in The Last Song, and I think that is another great thing about this genre, the characters really go through a journey and learn a lot along the way.
      That is very true. I really want to read The Fault in Our Stars too, but unfortunately my tbr pile just cannot take the strain at the moment, also all the hype is making me a little worried that I might be disappointing by it, the same worry I had with The Hunger Games which was luckily, unfounded!

      • Nah you definitely don’t sound like you’re over reacting, you can see you’re passionate about the subject 🙂 definitely, rock music has come under fire so many times over the years, then there’s films that have brought about copy-cats. I wrote a piece on the death of John Lennon for uni and his killer said he was inspired by Catcher in the Rye. So it can go for anything really. Ah A Walk to Remember is really good! the film has been my favourite film for about 5 years 🙂 yeah you defintely see them go on a real journey, that’s what I love about the books, the fact that even though they deal with death and loss, they’re talking about real subjects and giving it a sense of reality because these things can, and do, happen in real life. Yeah I know what you mean, I’ve heard so many good things about it! I have a feeling it’s going to make me cry, The Last Song had me going about 4 times so I’m pretty sure this will from what I’ve heard so I’m a bit hesitant to start it. Yeah I loved The Hunger Games! I thought it matched the book really well, there were only a few things I remember picking up on but overall I thought it was great! I can’t wait for the 2nd movie 🙂

      • Ohh well that’s good to know, lol. 🙂

        That is so true, I hadn’t thought about all the copycats that have resulted from books and films in the past, that’s a very good point!

        I have a feeling it is going to make me cry too, and I don’t think we will be the only ones haha!

        Oooh yeah I can’t wait for Catching Fire to come out, I feel like I’ve been waiting forever and I’m ready to get this party started. 😛

  15. I think issues that teens face should be addressed in books, it’s crazy not to and just because you read something doesn’t mean you’re going to go out and do it and teens read all kinds of books, adults ones too. I read Jackie Collins as a teen and didn’t run off and start having sex with everyone!

    • I’m glad you agree Victoria, I feel the same way. 🙂 In fact, I think it would be catastrophic not too. I have learnt a lot from these kinds of books in the past that I may not have learnt otherwise, and you’re right, a lot of teens read adult books too, in fact they probably did a lot more before the YA genre was invented. Surely it is better for them to read a book pitched to their target audience rather than jumping straight to adult books which may not deal with the situation in the same way? Haha touche! 🙂

  16. Sick-lit? Hmmm, I’m not too keen on it to be honest. When I first read the title of this post, the first thing that came to mind was American Psycho or The Diceman, books that are ‘sick’ in the violent/horrific sense, LOL. So no, I don’t think it’s a very appropriate term at all.
    I think teenagers and young people are a lot smarter than adults give them credit for. And I think BOTH teens and adults can be equally impressionable. But young a person going through a torturous period in their life might find solace in a book and might even save their life. The pros definitely outweigh the cons…

    • Ha ha me neither! In fact I really dislike it, I don’t think it makes you want to pick up one of the books.
      Ohh really? That makes sense actually, it does sound much more appropriate for a genre with violence that makes you feel physically sick, good point!

      Thanks Nisha I’m glad you agree, I know not everyone does so it means a lot to hear you say it. 🙂 (Or type it, lol.)That’s something that other people don’t seem to take into account as well and I agree. Adults can be as equally impressionable yet we rarely worry about them!
      These books have definitely helped me in various ways over the years and I expect many others, which is why I find the ‘they’re dangerous’ debate so frustrating.

  17. Lets face it. Every time teenagers latch on to something there is always somebody there to accuse it of causing harm. After all, Rock and Roll is the devils music, Kurt Cobain caused suicides, Lady Chatterley’s Lover turns women into sluts, anything by the Marquis de Sade causes deviant sexual behaviour, Lolita turns young girls into prostitutes while The Sound of Music turns them into into nuns, Huck Finn turns innocent children into racists, Mein Kampf will convert you to a Nazism while the Koran transforms you into a terrorist, and reading any book ever written about war is guaranteed to make our sons turn around and enlist. It will all blow over in the end, and everybody will wonder just what the big deal was.

    • Unfortunately yes it’s just the way it is, but I still can’t help but get frustrated with it. I guess my hope is that maybe a few parents out there somewhere read this and won’t make the mistake of banning their teenager from reading these kinds of books, because I think it would be a real shame if they did that.
      That is very true and what an excellent way of putting it! You really manage to sum up the ridiculousness of it all in so few words. And yet after all these so called moral panics nothing has really changed at all, and the human race still acts the way they always have.

      Thank you for the great comment, and thank you for subscribing as well! 😀

  18. I’ve read two out of the four above: The Fault in our Stars and Thirteen Reasons Why, the former being the better in my opinion. I would never deem either of them “sick-lit” and it makes me slightly sick that they are deemed so. The better term would be “fit-lit” because they fit the reality of this world we live in, because NEWSFLASH, these things happen, people get cancer, people commit suicide, and believe it or not, people die. These books just give us reasons. Reasons these things happen and more then thirteen reasons why we should not let these things keep us from living our life; to learn that at an relatively early age–such as teenagers–will benefit us all.

    • Ahh cool, so you must have a good perspective! Out of those I’ve only read Before I Die but I have read several others in the genre, I just decided to use images of the most famous ones. 😛 I really want to read TFiOS so I’m glad to hear you like it.
      I agree, I hate this term ‘sick-lit’ and I really do think it puts the genre in a negative light. Teens need to know about all of these complex issues because they are real and they will probably affect most teens in some way during their life. ‘Fit-lit’ – that’s an interesting idea.

      Thanks for the great comment, and for following. 🙂

      • I would definitely recommend it, I loved the book! It’s about a girl with terminal cancer who decides to come up with a list of things to do before she dies e.g. have sex, take drugs, shoplist and all sorts of other crazy things, and of course she meets a boy along the way…
        It was a real tear jerker and the protagonist isn’t necessarily likable for most of the book, she’s a real argumentative frustrated teenager which I think makes the book feel all that more realistic. So as long as you don’t have anything against characters you might not like, you should love it! 🙂

  19. Pingback: Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why | A Wordless Blogger

  20. Pingback: Book and a Beverage: Becky from Blogs of a Bookaholic

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