I’ve already discussed the growing trends you can see in Young Adult Fiction these days, but what do these trends really mean? What’s the big picture if a couple of teenagers are reading books about vampires or werewolves or, in the case of Fifty Shades, explicit sex?
Well here are a few things that we should consider regarding the current trends in YA.
As I already mentioned in a previous article, the popular topics in YA reading revolve greatly around supernatural aspects. Usually it’s vampires, werewolves, demons, fallen angels (different than demons in most YA novels), or some other such supernatural creature. Much like Frank Peretti’s Darkness series did so many years ago, these books are opening our children’s eyes to the spiritual world around us. As adults, we already know it exists but for a lot of teens, these books are giving them a first glimpse into this other dimension.
Anything for Love: Unfortunately, the pattern also seems to be that these books highlight the dark side of the spiritual world and more often than not, these ‘dark’ characters are actually the sympathetic heroes. For the most part, they’re poor tortured characters who are really inherently good. They have been trapped into this horrible lifestyle that they despise and it’s up to our heroines to rescue them somehow. Sometimes that’s by the power of love but often, it involves sacrificing themselves. In the Twilight books, for example, Bella is called upon to sacrifice herself to save Edward several times. (In each of the books she must put herself in a life or death situation to save him.) What is this teaching young girls? You do anything when you really love someone. And that anyone can be saved and changed if you love them enough. As believers, this is a tenet of our faith. Anyone can come to Christ and be saved. But they must come to Christ. Not to a teenage girl. What a brilliant way for satan to set up the next generation of girls! Willing to do anything for that eternal love, how hard to you think satan will have work to get a young, impressionable teenage girl to do whatever he wants of her? Really, all he’ll have to do is tell her he loves her and she’ll be his.
Last people on the planet: Aside from the supernatural, the other trend in YA books is dystopian. A lot of these books are set somewhere in the future in a society that was decimated by war or disease and has started over again. So what does this set up for future generations? Well, kids are already immersing themselves in the idea of a society where a majority of the population has been killed off and people are left to survive in a new culture with harsher and more difficult conditions. It’s my opinion that this is setting up the next generation for the rapture. Teens and tweens are swarming to books where society is nothing like it is now and they must fight to survive. The Book of Revelation is filled with stories of what the world will be like once the rapture has occurred. Many of the young people in the world won’t be as surprised or disturbed by this terrifying world as they would have been five, ten or even twenty years ago because they are escaping INTO this reality each time they pick up a book. Think about this trend. The Hunger Games, The Selection (now being turned into a television program for the CW Network), and other hotly trending books are preparing kids for the Book of Revelation.
Risen Again: Finally we come to vampires. Yes, vampires. I need to mention them because it’s not a harmless trend. In fact, the vampire fad could have very far reaching consequences. Many theologians believe that the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation teaches that the antichrist will be assassinated in front of the world, will lie as if dead, and then will rise again. I always wondered how on earth the entire population of the world will accept this man as their leader. I mean if you watch him die and then rise again, would that not cause some questions in your mind?? But then there’s the vampires. An entire generation of young people is completely wrapped up in this vampire phenomenon. And no matter which vampire book you happen to pick up, the mythology remains mostly the same. They die, they are dead for at least a couple of days, and then they rise again. When they do rise again, they’re more powerful, seemingly indestructible, and very much beautiful. In most books, movies or stories involving vampires, the audience is led to ‘follow’ the vampires because they’re so much wiser than the rest of us.
So a few years ago I couldn’t imagine a world where people wouldn’t freak completely out over this happening, I’m thinking that now we have a generation of young people that are ripe for this kind of story. Beyond being desensitized to the phenomenon, they’re being taught through books, films and movies to follow these very creatures. The reality is that in the here and now, it won’t be as difficult to understand how a generation would be willing to follow this sort of leader. They’re being entertained by it at every turn right now.
Though many of these books may be considered mostly fantasy and fun, what happens when we look at them as seeds that are being planted in young impressionable minds? When they are adults, what will these seeds have grown into?
I urge parents to not only help grow their children’s imaginations with books, but to cultivate their minds carefully. Satan is trying to grow a new generation that’s a ripe proving ground for his evil plans. Be sure your children aren’t caught up in that.
About The Author:
Lori Twichell is the owner of Beyond the Buzz Marketing which handles publicity and marketing for a variety of clients. She is Jill Hart’s partner on Christian Work at Home Mom radio and a featured blogger at CWAHM. She and Jill own Radiant Lit and Fiction Addict; both websites designed to help people find the best books to feed their love of reading. She is a proud military wife and lives with her husband, three kids and two dogs in San Antonio, Texas.