Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Discussion- AV Club vs. My Heart & Other Black Holes

So yesterday afternoon, I saw that Jasmine Warga's debut novel "My Heart and Other Black Holes" was optioned to be made into a movie. That made me very happy because even though I have yet to read it, I love any YA book being made into a movie. I read the article on Deadline, then while perusing one of my favorite sites, The AV Club, I saw they had posted about the movie option too. I read the article, laughed at it, and forgot all about it. Then, right before I went to bed last night, I saw some tweets about stuff going down on Twitter- a book was being attacked. I asked about it, and someone pointed me to look at Anne Ursu's twitter feed for links about people saying mean things about a book. I went and checked it out and, to my surprise, the article in question was the AV Club's article about Jasmine Warga's movie option.

I was dumbfounded. What was wrong with the article? I didn't remember any crazy horrible things being said about the novel, but apparently there was. I went back and re-read it, and I could potentially see where these people were coming from, but I knew how the AV Club worked in general and they are sarcastic about every topic. It's just their M.O. It's not malicious, it's not saying "serious topic itself = hilarious" but they find ways to include humor in many of their articles, no matter what the topic is. Personally, I don't see them saying that people dealing with suicidal thoughts is hilarious (or that they are only written just for novels because what would be the point in writing something that wouldn't resonate with people?), but rather this progression of YA trends (and we can all agree that there are trends, whether or not authors are specifically writing for them, which I do not think Warga was doing anyway). I also wonder if this would've ended differently if the author of the article had read the book before writing that newswire piece but still wrote it the same way. Does reading/watching/listening to something somehow make a difference in how we can talk about it?

I love being part of the YA community but this is a time when I am embarrassed to be a part of it (the same goes for the gay community when they get bent out of shape over some stupid little thing that doesn't matter in the long run instead of saving it for a more worthwhile opponent/topic). Does no one know what humor is anymore? Has everyone suddenly lost their sense of humor? I feel like this happens to me a lot- I laugh at something, then find out later there's an outcry about it and I have no idea what the problem is. Perhaps it's just because I have no filter, say offensive things all the time, and am rarely offended by jokes myself (even if they deal with an aspect of myself)? I also don't take YA too seriously - there are problems when it comes to marketing, how often books suddenly have sequels or everything bought is part of a trilogy, there are money-making trends, etc. That's where the humor in this article is coming from, and it's the same sort of things that I discuss and make fun of with my fellow book blogging friends occasionally. It doesn't mean I love YA less or anything, it just means that I know a real attack when I see one and this is not one.

But I do feel like I'm in the minority on this one (as I usually am, it seems), and I would love to discuss this further in the comments, so please leave your thoughts on it in a comment below. Comments have to be approved by me (as they are for every post, not just this one), but I will approve every single one.


  1. Yeah, that's a pretty typical AV Club Newswire. And it is relevant to point out that Hollywood likes YA novels about kids dying and dystopias. It's pretty obvious that some books are more option-able than others.

    Honestly, I'm kind of disturbed by the YA suicide books trend. I can think of five in this year so far. Yes, teens need books that deal with real issues, but the fact that suicide is so hot right now is not like mermaids being hot a few years ago.

    (This book, Playlists for the Dead, All the Bright Places, I Was Here, The Last Time We Say Goodbye ...)

    1. Thanks for commenting! And yes, I think the other problem with this kerfuffle is that I'm not sure how much of the YA community reads the AV Club daily. And yeah, I never really thought about it but yeah that does seem a bit much in just 3 months' time.