If you spend a lot of time on Book Twitter or Author Twitter, you’ve probably seen some tweets from Brooding YA Hero. This account pokes fun at a lot of the tropes in YA literature, from the point of view of the handsome, brooding, mysterious point of the love triangle. There are a few other YA character themed Twitter accounts, but as far as I know, “Broody” is the only one to land a book deal.
The full title of this book is Brooding YA Hero: How to Become a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me and the central conceit is that Broody, swoon-worthy heart throb high school student/farm boy/rebel leader/werelemur decides to sit down one day and write a self-help book. Of course, it’s actually written by Carrie DiRisio, with illustrations by Linnea Gear.
Brooding YA Hero is one part writing guide, one part satire, and one part activity book. It lambasts the YA genre, but from a place of love. It points out the flaws inherent in some of its tropes, while also praising it for empowering young people, inspiring them to read more and perhaps tell their own stories.
While I really enjoy the Twitter account this book is based on, I’m not entirely sure how well the book itself works. At times, I felt like it was trying a little too hard to get its point across. The sort of heavy-handed humor that works in a Tweet or two a day can get a bit belabored in a book.
Additionally, when the author indulges in certain failings of bad YA, such as word repetition, it can start to get annoying for the reader. I felt like saying “Yes, I see what you did there, but could you just stop doing it?”
YA readers may enjoy this book for giving them a laugh about the silliest parts of their favorite genre. But I think the best audience for this book will be younger writers getting ready to write their own first novel about characters close to their own age. I think a lot of the advice will help teenagers get out of their own heads and think about larger issues of representation and harmful tropes.
Adult YA authors may also benefit from the reminder that what you thought was cool when you were a teenager may not fly with today’s readers — and the agents, editors, and publishers standing between you and your readers.
Pros: Highlights the best and worst elements of a hot genre.
Cons: May occasionally beat a dead horse.
Conclusion: This isn’t the only writing guide you need, but it should serve as a good resource for YA writers.
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