So as a rule, bad reviews don't bother me. Of course I don't like them, and yeah they can hurt, but they happen. Not everything is for everyone, that's just how it is. No big deal.
However I recently received a review that really made me mad, not because it insulted me and my work (which it did, but whatever) but because it insulted my readers as well as teenage readers as a whole. I am very not cool with that.
So not cool, that I decide to give my two-cents on the matter...
I have taken the following quotes from actual blog posts, book reviews (on both Goodreads and Amazon) and interviews. (Though for the record, I have not used any examples from the review I received as to protect the writer)
“What chance do [young girls] have at knowing what a healthy relationship is, when everything they read labels obsession and mental abuse as ‘love’.”
“… girls are being taught that being weak and subservient will lead to unending love…”
“…does nothing but confuse teenage girls, who have a heard enough time sorting out relationships as it is.”
“Now, all these young women will think that it’s okay to let a man manipulate and control them as long as he uses the word ‘love’.”
“’Disobey your parents, skip school, laugh at any authority, but as long as you are doing it for love, it is okay.’ This is the message that teens get from [book] and all the rest like it.”
“…the popularity of books like this only proves that teens today have no appreciation of true literature.”
You've all heard this stuff before, right? Well guess what?
Teenage girls are not stupid!
I am SICK of all teens being grouped together under the umbrella of naïve, mindless, drones, who will do anything that a show, or celebrity, or book tells them! There are hoards of intelligent, confident, well-adjusted young women out there who are anything but weak and mindless.
Do some girls get obsessed over books that present unhealthy relations ships? Yes, of course. But that doesn't not mean that they actually think that is the way a real relationship should be! It’s fantasy! They are reading it because they enjoy it. And don’t you DARE tell me that it they shouldn’t enjoy something that to some is only considered mindless garbage—not when the GROWN WOMEN in this country have made RIDICULOUS CRAP shows like ‘Toddler’s In Tiaras’ and ‘Dance Moms’ some of the highest rated shows on TV.
“Oh, but it’s okay for me, I’m an adult. I know it’s ridiculous, but young girls don’t realize. They are too impressionable, just look how obsessed they get…”
Give. Me. A. Break.
Everyone gets obsessive about something, it’s human nature. We see something we really like, and for a time, we want as much of it as we can get. Since when is that the sign of a weak mind?! Moreover, since when does obsessing with something automatically mean the obsessed person believes that the thing is real? There are tons of people who flock to Sci-Fi conventions every year, dressed as robots, and monsters, and their favorite characters—does that mean that they all believe all that stuff is real? Sure, a few do, but the vast majority know it’s a fantasy, and do it for fun.
The other thing that kills me is that not long ago, everyone was whining about the fact that, with modern technology, kids didn’t read anymore. Well, now kids read more than adults, but it seems that still isn’t good enough. “Yes, we want you to read, but only what we think you should read.”
Here is the fact of the matter folks, if a teen girl believes that it’s okay to be mistreated and dominated by a man, and doesn’t know how to recognize and unhealthy relationship, then that is the case because no one has taught her otherwise—and sadly, she would be that way with or without YA books.
Now, I am not saying that there aren’t girls out there who are easily lead and influenced by others, as we all know there are. However, thanks to a few crazy fan girls, as well as shows like ‘My Super Sweet 16’, and the like, the world seems to think that if you are female and between the ages of 12 and 18, you have no choice but to be a weak-minded twit.
Do these people realize that teens today are doing harder work in high school than most of us did in college?! Do they realize that the average IQ of a girl between the ages of 14 and 17 is, on average, 2 – 5 points higher than the average IQ of a woman between 34 – 37?
Thant’s right folks, they are smarter than us.
Yes, they make bad decisions from time to time, but we all do. They are not all stupid, or shallow, or weak, and most of them have to put up with more in a day than most adults do in a week. If you really want to help young girls grow into smart, confident women, then how about giving them the respect they deserve.