YA Novels - The Do's and the Don'ts(Part 1)

This is a new feature I will be posting for the next few weeks about the latest popular features in Young Adult novels. This feature will discuss everything from swearing to adult content, and the types of characters you come across. Along with the discussion of dealing will illness in a novel. Latest success have provoked a huge amount of conversation on Twitter due to what is appearing in today's Young Adult novels. Swearing is a huge Don't for me in YA. I don't mind the odd word, but, I feel there is no need to have this type of language on every page.

In reality, swearing is something you can never seem to go a day without hearing. Personally, I try my hardest never to swear. The odd word may slip out but nothing offensive or hurtful, which I found has appeared in some books lately. Teenagers are known for being bad-mouthed and much more and in reality, many of us hate swearing. I wonder why people feel the need to use certain 'words' when truthfully, there is a much wider vocabulary out there to grasp. It feels unnecessary. Everytime I'm walking through the corridors or even scrolling through some of my feeds, I come across bad language. I don't know about you but, I hate to see it in books. I don't mind the occasional word, I sometimes feel it makes it more believable, but when it is filling most pages it makes me feel like making the book a DNF.

This discussion came into my mind after starting 'The Arrivals' by Melissa Marr. This is an adult novel so, it obviously has this rating for a reason. But, I was offered this for review and accepted it as the storyline itself sounded fantastic and truly is. This time, I can overlook the swearing as clearly it's an adult novel and has the right label but in YA it is one of my pet peeves when the storyline has everything but you find yourself reading swear words over and over again. I feel it can destroy fantastic literature - swearing never seems to fit.

My reaction when I come across when bad language.
An attempt to lighten up this post.

Some people never seem to mind swearing - since it's a part of everyone's daily life - but I love it when I see an author has pulled off a book without bad language. Sometimes, there's a bit here and there and I find it funny. It can add some sarcasm, help emphasise a joke and I think it fits. Although, sometimes it's forgotten we are only teenagers. I'm only fourteen but have probably read books set for an age much older than I am and people argue we shouldn't be 'babied' - sometimes laying back with the language in YA is for the best. Then, I guess our thoughts began to wonder into how we feel about it being in adult books. In all honesty, I still think swearing has been stylised. People think it's 'cool' when those words appearing in every sentence isn't seen like that most of the time. The latest craze seems to be bad language but I think there should be a limit to the amount of swearing in YA. Who knows, maybe this will be a short-lived time but, for know, I feel like some of the best books out there have no bad language so why is so much of it appearing lately? Let's think: The Hunger Games, Divergent and Twilight - no bad language. Book lovers look for a stand-out story and writing to capture you - swearing is not something that is important. There are smaller instances of words some people don't like to see such as "hell" but personally, I don't see there is a problem with this.

Does anyone else feel like if they don't like swearing,
they're not 'cool'

Although, swearing is a stereotype for a romance novel bad-boy. Is swearing a way of creating a fab new love interest in moments? I will admit to loving 'The Knife of Never Letting Go' and 'The Fifth Wave' despite the swearing. Maybe it was the fact there wasn't too much.

What do you think?
Do you prefer the bad-boy look that comes with swearing?
How about the new GIFS?


  1. I always make sure to try not to swear. It annoys me how much people do swear because they think it makes them "cool" If it does, then I'm definitely not. I don't like books that have swear words on every page. I don't mind it when there are some swear words occasionally, because this happens in real life and I'm not bothered by words like "heck" or "hell"...
    I agree with the fact that you don't need YA books to be full of swearing!

    1. I agree with you! I don't mind the occasional word, and am guilty of using mild language like "hell". If it happens in real life, it should be in Contemporary novels, but I also believe that you don't need it. Look at Geek Girl by Holly Smale. Completely clean and a bestseller!

  2. I agree with you. You can make a good book with out swearing. I tend to become disinterested in a book when it is saturated with it.

    Harry Potter is another one. There were a few bloody hells, but nothing huge, except for right at the end with Mrs. Weasly, but it did seem appropriate with the story.

    Great post!

    1. Thank you, Kate! Me too - it's one of my pet hates - although sometimes I will keep going because I enjoy the humour it brings!

  3. This is a great feature, Sophie! Can't wait for the next one! The GIFs are great :)

    I don't mind swearing at all but if I read a book that has it on virtually every page, I get a bit annoyed. There's so much better vocabulary to use and well-written books embrace the English Language. I try not to swear but I'll say the odd word without realising.
    Sometimes swearing just isn't necessary! The authors are just trying to get through to teenagers which doesn't really work.

    Thanks for sharing! :)

    1. Thanks, it should be up soon! I'm so glad you thought the GIFs were great! There's always a place for Jennifer Lawrence.

      I hadn't thought about how it appeals to teenagers, but I think that's a great point. What YA authors need to realise is a best-seller doesn't need swearing. Like I said to Rita a few comments ago, Geek Girl is the perfect example!

  4. Great feature!

    I completely agree with you, I absolutely hate swearing in books. If I am reading a book and I begin to see that there are swear words on every page I will DNF it because I can not stand swearing. I don't mind the odd swear word but if it's on almost every single page, it's a no for me. Like you said, there are amazing words out there that can be filled in for the swearing, it doesn't actually need to be used.

    I love the gifs as well, anything with Jennifer Lawrence is awesome! :D

    Can't wait for the next post! :)

  5. On the one hand, swearing is sometimes necessary to make the book more believable - if the character is say, at a house party, or witnessing some bullying and the author has kept it squeaky clean it makes me go "reaaallly?!" But I suppose it's to do with who's speaking - whilst the bullies/ringleader may swear a lot to make their character more credible, there's no need for your MC to do the same! That, I think, is just glamorising what shouldn't be glamorised. Swearing in the narrative is especially a no-no for me. When there's a deluge of it it makes you stop focussing on the story!

    Great post, Sophie! :)

  6. I can't say I notice all swears, there are some I will but some roll of the tongue. I don't swear as much as some & it depends on what you count as cursing. It's cos some swears aren't really dirty, like (excuse my French) crap... But some are really inappropriate even in small amounts. I don't think I've seen the ones I'm thinking of. I clearly haven't encountered it too much? Anyway, as you know, I love this post! It's absolutely fantastic and I hope people take note of the whole series- I know I shall (:

  7. This is such an interesting discussion post, and it's really got me thinking.

    At my school, I probably honestly hear over 100 swear words a day. Walk up one corridor at lunch and I just know I'm going to hear a ton of swears. Personally, I try hard not to swear (with the exception being when I stub my toe and the odd word slips out!) and feel like if I'm not mouthing off all the time, I'm seen as a "Goody-two-shoes" or Little Miss. Perfect or whatever. But that's their opinion, and I'm happy not swearing constantly. I agree with you, there are so many other words in our vocabulary we could use. But I hear swearing so much now that I've become pretty used to it. Which I guess is a sad thought, when you think about it...

    In books, I think that swearing, when used in the right places at the right time, can make a book a lot more believable. There are some situations in YA that I've read that, in real life, would definitely involve some swearing. So when the author keeps everything MG even though the plot is YA, it makes me think "As if that's how she'd really speak in this scenario!" But when there is swearing in every sentence, for no reason other than to make the book seem more 'adult', I can't stand it. It's just so pointless to swear non-stop in a book sometimes...

    Thank you so much for sharing this discussion post with us, Sophie. I love reading opinions and thoughts from other people. I can't wait for Part 2 of this new feature. :)

  8. I agree; I can't stand constant swearing in books, especially in YA, and I usually won't tolerate it. There ARE teenagers who swear a lot, and those were the people that, when I was a teen, I avoided spending too much time with. So why would I want to go hang out with these people in books who swear too much? I enjoy reading characters who are smart, independent, and who don't need the crutch of swearing to be relatable or interesting. Great post!

    1. Thanks for commenting! I love your view on this! My favourite fictional character is Katniss Everdeen - she is all of what you said, and never swears! x

  9. I agree with you Sophie, I don't like swearing in YA books. In adult novels I don't mind it, like Gone Girl becuause it seems more realistic and grit. In YA books it just makes the characters look like knackers! I try not to curse at all, and I only slip sometimes when I'm extremely mad!! But, yeah, cursing is a big NO in YA books for me. Brilliant post, Sophie! :D

    1. Thanks for being on Team Sophie! In adult novels, I know to expect this, I just don't like the stereotype that all of us swear. All the time. A few words so slip, but who doesn't at times? Just, YA books are an escape from school -where I hear it everyday.


  10. I think swearing can be ok if it fits, but I agree with you that it usually doesn't. I feel like it usually makes the writing come across as less professional and/or less well done. It can also pull me out of the story, as per your gif :) Interesting discussion!


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Sophie Louise