Books, inspiration, Musings, Writing

The darker side of life

I read recently – could have been on Facebook so it must be true! – that the next trend in YA books is for darker, gritty real books. So move over vampires and other supernaturals because YA is going real. Probably successes like Tammara Webber (EASY) and Jamie McGuire (BEAUTIFUL DISASTER) as well as bestseller staples like THIRTEEN REASONS WHY, which deals with teen suicide, are pushing this trend forward.ย It might be an adult book and one big fantasy but you could say FIFTY SHADES OF GREY is also showing the darker side of life – a BDSM relationship that is selling in its millions.

Maybe we all like to indulge our dark side once in a while and these books give us a safe opportunity to do so safely.

I’d like this to be true as the book I’m submitting to agents is dark YA. I think that dark books will always appeal to teens who like their books to be real, not to talk down to them, and deal with things that are a part of life. They may have experienced issues themselves or know someone who has or just want to read something a little bit shocking.

I suppose some people may find books like this depressing but all the ones I’ve read have been touched with romance or light that makes them worth turning the page. They are also inspiring. Probably the book that started it all was SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson about a teen girl raped at a party – the whole book is the journey she takes before she can tell people what happened to her. It urges teens to talk about things that they might be afraid to. I think this is why I started writing a dark book – I wanted not only to entertain teens but inspire them.

Of course, I think with YA books in particular dark books should still offer a resolution, if not a definite happy ending because we all like to have some hope after all the struggle. Light after the darkness. This is true for literature but life as well.

Are you a fan of dark books?



20 thoughts on “The darker side of life”

  1. I just finished reading Fifty Shades of Grey and I can see why people liked it but I can also see why people hated it too. I’m kind of in the middle. I have a love-hate relationship with it. It wasn’t the ‘dark’ side of the book that captured me, it was the relationship that was created between the characters. Of course, the BDSM just made things a little bit kinkier and made you think if you could put yourself in her/his shoes. Like you said, certain books give us an opportunity to indulge in that ‘dark side’ in a safe way. That being said, I’m definitely a fan of dark books, any kind of dark book. They’re the only kind of book that can really capture and hold my attention for any length of time :’] I love them all!

      1. I think it’s been hyped up too much :/ It’s an overly predictable book, I could have told you what happened within two chapters. It’s that kind of book :/ Definitely a love it or hate it kind of book.

  2. I am not opposed to darker books (or movies for that matter), but I will say that in general it better have an AMAZING ending to make up for the pain of reading through the hard parts. There is so much sadness in real life that when I take the time to read a book or watch a movie, I want it to be happy and cheerful. Don’t get me wrong, my life is amazing and I love it, but I do a lot of counseling which means that I hear a lot of real-life pain. So to read a book or watch a movie that is on the darker side… well, it’s not high on my list unless I hear the ending has some sort of positive ending.

  3. I’ve been a Stephen King fan since I was a teen myself. There is something appealing about them. I guess we all have those dark places and reading about others like us help us feel more normal. In imagination or real life. Your book sounds REALLY good (and helpful).

  4. I think gritty books which help you face and understand life are often worthwhile but I do love a bit of optimism as well, otherwise we’d all just end up depressed, and whats the point in that

  5. I like dark books as long as there is a solid hero that I can count on to carry me through the worst of it. Revise that: Dark and handsome solid hero. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I like reading books with darker tones; it’s true that they can sometimes be more realistic. Life isn’t just sunshine and daisies, after all!

  7. The new buzz word at the SCBWI conference was “realistic fiction.” It’s pretty much contemporary YA but it came out of Bologna that editors want realistic fiction in YA. So that seems to be the new trend. A good time to have a dark realistic YA. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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