Trends / News

[vc_row el_class=”vertical_separator” margin_bottom=”5px”][vc_column width=”1/6″][vc_row_inner el_class=”sb”][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″ el_class=”sidebartitle”][vc_widget_sidebar sidebar_id=”ultimatum-agegroups”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Are Young Adult (YA) books romanticising death?

With the current surplus of YA books dealing with death in all it’s many forms, from murder and accident to disease and suicide, educators and parents have raised concerns that they are too heavy for the often vulnerable youth reading them. It seems as if all you need to have a bestselling book these days is to write about someone dying.

The Netflix movie (and book), Thirteen Reasons Why, came under fire for using a teen’s suicide as a sensationalised plot turner. There are hundreds of YA books based on sick, dying and dead teens and people, some of them very good and many not so much. There are some stand out books which deal with death in a very powerful way, such as The Fault in our Stars by John Green and Patrick Nessʼs award-winning novel A Monster Calls, which gently looks at the ways in which the psychological burden of his mother’s impending death from cancer affects a young boy. The power of this trend lies in what academics term a ʻbereavement turnʼ ‒ ‘a contemporary cultural movement to publicly examine our attitude to death and grieving.’

This is a generation that grew up with 9/11 terrorist attacks, refugees, war, disease, celebrity suicides – all shared on social media for everyone to see. The reality is death is part of living and our children learn that through their life experiences, when a classmate dies in an accident or a granny passes away or a pandemic like Covid-19 strikes.  A book offers a safe place to explore their own feelings and to normalise death instead of hiding it and ignoring it. What happens though, when the deaths novelists deal with are sensationalised, when suicide is glamorised or murder is trivialised?

The Guardian tackles this topic well but interestingly this was written before Covid-19 and the reality is all children are now aware that life is fragile and there are ‘mysterious viruses’ that can take life away.  Perhaps we should be grateful to the trend for opening up the dialogue in preparation.

We’d love to know what you think. Drop us your comments to [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][vc_widget_sidebar sidebar_id=”ultimatum-mainsidebar”][vc_widget_sidebar sidebar_id=”ultimatum-advertisingbanners”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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