Monday, August 22, 2011

I'm Writing About a Teen Girl...

...but people might not like it because she's not an obnoxious moron.

That sounds inflammatory, but I don't know what to think. I just finished reading a Spider-Girl comic. The thought bubbles are all in the form of twitter tweets. I'm dead serious.

Birds of Prey is so infuriating that, despite the fact that I read anything involving any of the Batman family (it includes Huntress and Oracle [the first Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, who Joker made a paraplegic]), I just don't think I can continue to read it.

When I was a kid, way back when, I don't remember there really being YA books. Maybe my perspective is skewed because I basically jumped to adult books at age 10, but I think that's what people did. Maybe not quite so young, but I think that people went from middle grade books to adult books.

But I'm remembering back to the teenage girls in those middle grade books, books like A Wrinkle in Time and Island of the Blue Dolphin and the Little House books, and they didn't seem like obnoxious morons. I guess I should check again, but those authors seemed to respect their characters, despite their being teenage girls.

I read The Hunger Games about the thick-headed, grating Katniss (even her name is obnoxious). I read the even worse Twilight about the non-entity Bella Swan (good lord, the names), whose only trait seems to be clumsiness and a very well-developed sense of entitlement.

I'm sure this doesn't represent the whole genre, but these books sold really well. Ugh.

I can't write about a character I don't respect. So while my teenage girl is suffering from extreme post traumatic stress disorder and is trying and failing to not turn into a relative she respected but wouldn't want to be, she's not obnoxious. She's definitely not stupid.

And her name is Jessica. I mean Katniss?!?! Bella?!?! Really?

(Disclaimer: some of fuel for this fire was also provided by a non-literary source: the film Triple Dog. It's like Mean Creek or Twelve and Holding, but HORRIBLEANDINFURIATING)


  1. This is why its important to take time to study Joss Whedon's work on the female lead archetype.

  2. You mean that girls rock because they always have super powers?

  3. Don't they? Also, if they are ever in a situation that they couldn't otherwise handle, a battle trance can really move the story along.

  4. You list three books (series) I loved as a younger girl. I so identified with Meg Murry - and she had a pretty great mom, too.

    In the Little House TV show, the obnoxious girl was the antagonist, not the protagonist - which is right where she belongs.

    Freaky Friday - also not a whiny obnoxious girl. Harriet the Spy. The girls of Narnia. Has YA fiction really gone so steeply downhill, or did we just never finish the crappy books when we were kids?

  5. I blame the Disney channel. Seriously.