The 'YA Sick Lit' Argument

A few weeks ago The Daily Mail commented on the recent bestselling books, nicknamed by them Sick Lit(Literature). Books under this category are the recent craze: The Fault in Our Stars, Now Is Good and others dealing with subjects such as Cancer & Illness for a teenage audience. With most adults agreeing that this type of 'sick' book shouldn't be published, I can't help but disagree.

The Fault In Our Stars was a beautiful book and I think it opens your eyes to illness and makes you more aware about the consequences. I don't think that there should be a problem with this type of novel unless they are untruthful or decide to offend people with an illness, which most of these do not. Most young teens who read this type of novel enjoy them-although you always need your box of tissue's close by. It does allow people to read and makes them read so I think it can been seen as a good thing in some ways. I understand where this argument may come from as some novels-such as Now Is Good where the protagonist Tessa has a bucket list to complete before she dies, aren't as realistic as it would be in reality. I can really feel the pain In these books from the main character and it teachers you about the consequences of illness. The hope, the fight are all packed into this type of book. I can never see a problem when I know that the book is honest-not lying about the topic or as they call 'watering it down'. The Fault in Our Stars dealt with how it feels for the family during that time and it gains awareness. I never realised how Cancer effected the family in such a bold way and if these books give some understanding, they should be celebrated. To get so much emotion and power across in a novel makes a masterpiece.

Most people say that a Cotemporary novel of this type always end of a vivid scene detailing the main character's death. Sadly, this is how it does end sometimes in reality this happens but not always in a novel. It leaves the ending to you or changing the plot-I love the fact it takes you on a journey with these characters. Even though this type of book is labelled as 'YA Sick Lit' - I can't help enjoying this type of novel. The Daily Mail should be supporting the fact that, if people are reading, it's something good. They shouldn't be complaining about this, people reading is a good thing.

Although, I can't help commenting on sometimes they are unrealistic. Now Is Good-despite being an amazing book and adaptation with(as I have a slight obsession with quotes) some gorgeous quotes-has it's flaws. Not with the beauty of the novel but how nobody suffering from an illness would be able to do what Tessa does and attempt to complete a long bucket list. Combining Number One on the list being romance, nobody with Cancer would be looking to do this. Yet, YA Sick Lit doesn't just come under books about illness they deal with topics such as self-harm. I think that books about self-harm can go too far, despite having not read one myself, it's clear writing a novel about it can cause pain. I think if you cross a line there is a problem, but as long as it is kept in mind about the respect and age appropriate audience you are writing for/about there is no problem there. In some ways, these books raise some awareness for Cancer Sufferers.

What do you think about this argument ?
By the way, congrats to Lucy on her amazing part in The Daily Mail about this topic!


  1. Of coarse these books should be published! I've read Now is good but I didn't like it. It was called before I die back then and I just thought it was too depressing. But that's besides the point.
    Take sister's keeper, what an amazing story. It makes people appreciate life more and can help people deal with friends and family or maybe even yourself with being ill.
    The failt in our stars, I have yet to read.
    Excellent topic, Sophie!

    P.S. I've changed by blog url and name, so if it isn't coming up in your reading list could you please unfollow then refollow through google friend? Much appreciated!
    Marian ^_^ x

    1. I personally don't agree how the Daily Mail tackled this issue and 'Ya Sick Lit' is a revolting title.
      I think it is massively important to publish these books, as it is teaches us the consequences.
      I haven't read these books, but take Before I Die (Now Is Good) for example. Tessa's story shows us the hell she has been through and that she should enjoy every second we have.
      The Fault In Our Stars and Before I Die is what I really want to read.
      Excellent, inspirational topic Sophie! x - Abbie

    2. Thank you so much Abbie! The Fault In Our Stars was incredible and I'm yet to read Before I Die(Although I have it on my shelf) but the film is amazing. You're right, it really does show you how much they go through and I definitely think this is really so important.

  2. Books about self-harm have been very helpful to our readers. I've updated our list for 2013.


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Sophie Louise