Teen Fiction is a genre that I've never liked, not even when I was a teenager, and this has become doubly so since it's started creeping into my favorite genres of writing. My problem with Teen Fiction is not with the style of writing, there are many talented writers who are (wasting their time) writing Teen Fiction these days. No, my problem is with the genre itself, what it stands for and the methods it uses to appeal to its target audience.
As a teenager, you're at what is quite possibly the most stressful and confusing stage in life that a human being will go through. You're still treated like a child but expected to act like an adult, your entire future is decided by the grades you get, one misstep and you can be socially ostracized for the rest of your high school career and to top it all off you've got these hormones racing through your body telling you to do really stupid things that you'll totally regret later on. Besides all that, there's always the slim chance that one of your peers won't be able to take the pressure and will go on a rampage.
Being a teenager is stressful and confusing because not only are you trying to develop a deeper understanding of the world, but you're also trying to define yourself and figure out how you fit within that world. You've been molded by your parents for years, and you want to make them proud, but you also want to step out and have a say in who you turn out to be as well. As a teenager you are very vulnerable to being mislead because you're actively seeking new paths, and you're constantly walking down the wrong paths while you try to find the right one.
Teen Fiction is the ICBM that cruises past all defenses to strike right at the heart of this confusion. It's the douchebag at the party that walks up to people and sucker punches them, it's the bitch that makes up a story about her friend because she's becoming more popular, it's the arsehole that gets chicks wasted because it's the only way he's assured of having a good time. Teen Fiction targets our youth when they're at their most vulnerable, it tells them they're special, they're unique and that they'll change the world. It tells them everything an impressionable young teen could ever want to hear... and then it takes their goddamn money!
And in recent years, Teen Fiction has slithered it's way into Post Apocalyptic and Dystopian Fiction. Of course, with the brutal injustices and tough moral choices brought about by the desperate times inherent to both genres, it was only a matter of time. Despite the fact that all these worlds generally have police officers, soldiers, diplomats or barbarian warriors - it's the teenagers that always manage to save the day. Because adults are just too set in their ways to solve the worlds problems, it takes a teenager's fresh perspective on things to bring about lasting and effective change... ugh.
Never mind the fact that when these books are turned into movies or tv shows, the teenagers are always played by 20-something actor/models who are absurdly attractive to the point of being genetic freaks. This only further alienates the average teen who, more than likely, will never attain such godlike levels of attractiveness.
It's cheap, it's dirty, and I fucking hate it...