So, this was supposed to be my review of Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon. However, I haven't finished it. Erm, yeah - I know. It doesn't exactly make me qualified to talk about it at all so I'm not going to.
However, I'm going to talk a little about stuff that I like in YA fiction and some stuff I don't. This is a bit of an extension from Liz's post about MFB in 2012 and what I'm personally looking for next year and what I'm not going to read.
I've always had a rule to finish a book but had a bit of an epiphany this week. Full disclosure - I'm not a teenager, just someone who loves to read and write YA fiction. I know this isn't much of a revelation but worth mentioning. Does this make me qualified to review YA? Well, yes, I think so. However, I'm looking at relationships in the books I read from a woman's viewpoint. So when I see insta-love my eye gets a bit of a twitch going on. I also get a bit worried by the prevalence of overprotective boyfriends who, for example, stare at a girl for a few days, kiss and then the relationship goes from casual to - quite frankly - bonkers. I mean, if I kissed a boy at a party when I was at school I would have been pretty freaked out if he had then driven me to school the next day, taken me home and then stayed half the night. I'm not even getting started on what message these relationships give out. Whenever I read about a girl who suddenly feels that she can't talk to her friends about her boyfriend because they just wouldn't understand I get worried. I know that in many stories it's the supernatural aspect of the boyfriends that make the girl secretive but the message is still the same.
Yeah, I'm aware I'm getting a bit ranty now and there's room for all types of main characters in fiction. But, for me personally, I want a bit more of a kick-ass heroine. I want a heroine who's as passionate about her friends as she is about her man. I adore a good love story but I don't want the man to take over her life from dawn till dusk. I like passion in my books but I also want an amazing plot with characters that are going to make me think.
I've read some great books with male protagonists recently and have loved them because their voice is so refreshing. I've also read some fresh female voices too this year which only serve to underline what I've started to get tired of in YA fiction. Basically, I want to admire my main characters. I want to be thinking about them after I finish the book and I want to be doing that for good reasons.
I'm sorry that I couldn't finish Carrier of the Mark but it really wasn't for me, in part for the reasons I've mentioned above. What I read was well written and the main character is appealing. However, at the moment I'm looking for characters like Uma's The Bride from Kill Bill and although that sets the bar pretty high I like a challenge.