Hey friends! I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving! The #RealYA hashtag on Twitter (check it out) had inspired me to talk about unrealistic plot lines in YA books and tv shows. Here we go!
BIG PROBLEM #1
There’s this book that I read recently. It was a fantastic book, but it’s depiction of school was very unrealistic.
Ask the Passengers by A.S. King.
Don’t get me wrong–I love A.S. King and I loved this book. It’s a great portrayal of a young girl discovering her sexuality. There were just a few aspects that I found to be rather unrealistic. I’m going to discuss one scenario in particular: Astrid’s issue with trigonometry class.
In the beginning of the book, Astrid complains about her trigonometry class A LOT. She hates the class and the teacher and doesn’t understand the work. This is relatable to me because math is NOT my strong suit. However, when she finally reaches her breaking point, she just leaves. Astrid is able to quit the class and transfer into the study hall. I found this to be INCREDIBLY UNREALISTIC. Here’s what people who aren’t in high school need to understand: class transcripts are an art form. There’s only so much leniency in them.
SMALL PROBLEM #1:
She transferred out of the class with no problem. At my school, you can only transfer out of a class in the first four weeks of school. Also, they only let you if you have a specific reason. Struggling with the work and hating the teacher is NOT A VALID REASON.
SMALL PROBLEM #2:
She went from TRIGONOMETRY to STUDY HALL. As if those are in any way comparable. You have to take math every year at my school and at most schools! You can’t just switch to study hall and not take math. I WISH IT WAS THAT EASY.
SMALL PROBLEM #3:
STUDY HALL. I don’t know if this is just my school, but we don’t have study hall. We don’t have study hall and we don’t have free period. That would be wonderful, but alas, we don’t have it. We have to study ON OUR OWN TIME (gasp!) while battling sports, extracurricular, social life, health, and other homework. Study hall would be such a waste of class time! Every class period counts when it comes to getting into college.
BIG PROBLEM #2
Another aspect of high school that I’m finding represented unrealistically in books and tv shows is FREE TIME. I’m going to talk about the tv show Glee in particular here, but I’ve seen this in multiple other books and media.
On Glee, the characters are always having conversations at their lockers and in *empty classrooms*. Whenever I see this, and my brother can attest to this, I scream, “WHERE ARE THEY SUPPOSED TO BE?????” At my school and at the vast majority of other high schools in America, there’s no free time! We have FIVE MINUTES in between classes and when you have to go across campus, there’s no time to chat or make out in an empty classroom (no such thing)! We go from class, to class, to class, to class, to lunch, to class, to class, to class, then home. No free time. There’s lunch and that’s it. And during lunch? You can’t leave the cafeteria. So, yeah, it’s kind of hard to have DRAMATIC and PASSIONATE encounters during the school day when there’s no time or place for it.
Also: LOCKERS. We don’t use lockers AT ALL. The way lockers are carefully decorated and organized in tv shows and books? That’s what we did in middle school when we weren’t allowed to carry around backpacks. Now, people just carry their stuff in their backpack!
BIG PROBLEM #3
I’ve found that a lot of characters in YA aren’t involved in clubs or activities because they’re “too cool for them.” Well guess what? You need to be involved if you want to go to college and HAVE A FUTURE. It’s not enough to get good grades. Oh no, you need at LEAST three school activities to be involved with. Also, you have to show LEADERSHIP at those activities. You can’t only be in book club, you have to be PRESIDENT of book club (personal example). These YA characters seriously need to step up their game if they want to go to college. I feel like going to my bookshelf and pulling an Oprah: pointing at my books and screaming “YOU GET COMMUNITY COLLEGE AND YOU GET COMMUNITY COLLEGE AND YOU GET COMMUNITY COLLEGE AND YOU GET A JOB AT MCDONALDS!”
I love YA contemporary books. I love Ask the Passengers and I love Glee. I just wish that YA books were more representative of how high school actually is. I get that you need those *free times* during the school day to have scenes, but there has to be a way around it. Real life teenagers have figured out how to do it.
That’s it for this rant! Leave me a comment below with your thoughts!