By Elizabeth DiPietro
Young Adult (YA) books often get a bad rap for being shallow, underdeveloped, and cliché. There are huge bestselling series that have transcended to films and television shows that fit that description to a T, which only adds to the idea that YA best sellers are cliché money grabs that uneducated teens are desperate to consume. On August 24, 2017, one author decided to test this limit by attempting to steal the #1 spot on The New York Times Best Seller list.
By Joe Magaletta
There’s a story that makes me uncomfortable. A black man has been accused of raping a white woman. We follow the story of an attorney who goes out of his way to try and prove that the woman is making a false allegation, doubting the victim in this situation. It’s an exploration of bias, the justice system, racial inequality, and compassion. These are all ideas that are worth exploring… But now I’m uncomfortable. Therefore, To Kill a Mockingbird shouldn’t be taught in schools.
This is a growing trend: the fear of being offended, of confronting triggers, of having to question ideas and explore points of view that don’t exactly mesh with our own. The political climate is as heated as ever, and the desire to hear the opposition has died down in favor of preaching to the choir.
By Nicolina Givin
I sat on my couch on the fourth of October and flipped through the channels on my television. I caught a glimpse of Emily Blunt grabbing a blonde by the back of her head and dragging her onto the floor. The title, The Girl on the Train, flashed at the end and I was in bewilderment. “That’s a movie now?” I thought to myself. The movie was released to theaters on the eighth. I picked up the novel, which had been sitting on my bookshelf for some time, and opened the cover, ready to finally read what everyone was about to see on the big screen. I could not have the world tell me the plot and ending before I could figure it out myself; I had to finish it before the movie release. Why was I motivated soon after that preview to read the book rather than when I first purchased that book eight months prior? The answer was always sitting there on my bookshelf, but the media pushed me towards it and spoke clearer to me in that thirty-second preview.
by Alexis Zimmerman
There are countless books in Young Adult Literature where the main character must fall in love with the main love interest by the end of the book. These two characters fall in love in the most unrealistic of ways without even knowing each other that well and only having maybe a handful of conversations. Yet for some reason, young readers seem to devour those books. There are so many copies of this cliché and unrealistic type of book sold in the bookstores more often than not that it’s unbearable.
But does the love in these books happen naturally? Can someone fall in love as quickly as these characters fell in love? How do these instances of insta-love affect the younger readers who gravitate towards these particular books? Are they getting the impression that love happens right away, like it does in the books they’re reading?
by John Gross
Throughout time technology has changed how the writer crafts his novel. From pen and paper, to typewriters, to word processing—the tools of the trade are constantly evolving. In today’s world, the writer can craft a sentence and move it around to different places, supplementing paragraphs where he sees fit. This can be a powerful tool, that makes the revision process more fluid and dynamic. An author can be less committed to putting something on a page, where it can be easily reshaped, moved, and removed. While this technology has fundamentally changed how the novelist crafts his work, it hasn’t really changed how the reader consumes it. Sure, we are in a period of time that is showing the rise of e-readers and digital print, but ultimately the novel is being experienced in the same traditional way.
by Rachel Saltzman
It begins in middle school; writing skills are in a crucial stage of development, and so teachers are more focused on systematic writing such as essays, grammatical structures, and proper spelling. At this age, kids are taught what effective, tasteful writing incorporates, and which elementary techniques can be rushed to the curb for good. This is when ‘it’s raining cats and dogs,’ and other cute phrases that are found in children’s books, are banished from any and all forms of writing.
We all know (supposedly) what a cliché is, what it looks and sounds like. But why are clichés considered bad for writing? The common argument is that clichés and common tropes are overused, to the point where most casual readers cringe at the sight of one. If the goal of any writer is to craft a story, essay, or narrative using a unique and well-developed voice, then of course clichés can only impede the process. If these banal phrases, expressions, and ideas have long been exhausted, then where and when were they first used?
by Sarah Knapp
The above videos contain clips from two very different, but two very popular TV shows: RuPaul’s Drag Race and Steven Universe. What do all of these seemingly unrelated scenarios have in common? In each clip, there are quite a few different uses of pronouns, some of which seem confusing or don’t exactly fit our expectations. There is a powerful force at work here: gender is being redefined. Subtly, and sometimes very overtly, the language used to talk about gender is being changed and shaped by the media that surrounds us.
by Myriah Stubee
Annotating, marking up, commenting, writing in the margins...whatever you call it, marginalia has been around for as long as there has been writing. Students don't often like it, professors don't often give them a choice, and many avid readers don't even think about it anymore. Whatever your opinion about writing in your books, there is no doubt that it adds layer and nuance to the reading experience.
by Amanda Rennie
The world is dark, dismal, messy; there is a teenager who is, believably, old enough, clever enough, mature enough, independent enough to make life-altering decisions. 16 or 17 is a good age because then they can rebel against adults, not go to school, and have an intense and passionate relationship. This teenager isn't like all the other teenagers. This teenager can make a difference.
Yawn. It started with the vampire craze, but the publishers of young adult fiction have fully submersed themselves in Dystopia: everywhere and everything is terrible, and only one young person has the ability to change it and make the world a better place. Young adult authors, lots of them, have been churning out trilogies (ALWAYS trilogies) with the same stock characters and fabled ending for years now. And guess what? It's only becoming more generic.
by Rachel Carly
As a nation, we are entering an election year that is monumental. Although many negative things can be said about the debacle that is the 2016 Presidential elections, one potential positive among the wreckage is the public’s newfound engagement with politics. From signs littering the lawn of your neighbors to your distant cousin’s misinformed Facebook rant, the spread of opinion, policy, and (hopefully) fact is both accessible and widespread. People are keeping close eyes on both candidates, sharing news articles, conspiracy theories, and data to demonstrate a candidates worth or prove a candidates incompetence. While it is encouraging that so many people are taking interest in politics and the progression of society, where is this information coming from? And more importantly, does the public care?
thoughts on writing, art, & new media by glassworks editorial staFF