What’s Wrong with Kids Today

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This is a picture someone took of the “Young Adult” section of their bookstore, which has apparently been infected with the all-consuming plague of vampires. I think there are some werewolves and fallen angels in there too.

What’s that series with all the pictures of that one emo-looking kid wearing an ironic smiley face shirt on the cover? He doesn’t look like a supernatural being, so I fully approve of that.

I will admit, in an effort to “know my shit” when I rip on Twilight, I tried to read the books, but it was like someone printed off a piece of slash fiction and bound it into an actual book. I had to put it down after the tenth time I read the word “Adonis,” which was about a hundred pages in.

  • Adam

    That is Target’s “Wall of Hell”. You will be honestly surprised how much of that stuff gets sold.

  • chrystani

    The emo kid series is “The Chronicles of Vladimir Todd”.

    And he is VERY supernatural, hes a vampire. Like everyone else white under 18 and good looking.

    I work in a high school library. Don’t judge me!!! Its my job to know. hahaha 😀

    But yea I have a shelf by my desk, where I have all those series separate from the whole book collection, because thats all the kids read.

  • Galahad

    If you zoom in you can actually see fangs on his smiley face shirt
    Even his ironic t-shirt is a vampire.

    I miss when vampires used to kill people instead of literature.

  • illeaturfamily

    I think a major part of this phenomenon is that the women and kids who read this stuff have nothing else to compare it to. People don’t seem to read quite as much these days, so when a book comes along and takes our pop culture by storm it has the literary genre of entertainment all to itself. It doesn’t help that they’re written at about a 6th grade level of literacy.

    Every girl/woman I know who has read these books claims that they’re extremely quick and easy to read. Maybe that’s a selling point? You don’t have to think much about the content because the writer did all the thinking for you.

    What am I getting at? Well, for one, someone needs to introduce these people to some more well-written works (sci-fi romance or not). And second, it has to stop being all about money. We all know that’s not going to happen soon so I’m just going to shut up now and go back to ignoring the sparkly emo vamps.

  • chrystani


    You are right. When I’m in between books I will read one of these for a quick read.

    I was just speaking with my boss (the librarian) and she was saying how vampire novels are the next “get rich quick” deal…

    You figure it takes a reader 2-3 days to read one of these books. The person reading will always need something to read. So the writer is going to have to keep cranking them out.

    And there are plenty up coming writers who will shell out a couple of crap books to make that quick buck.

    The same happened with Harry Potter and loads of “Wizarding school” books that were churned out.

  • Cheryl

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with these books as long as they’re taken with a grain of salt….they’re not real, Edward does not want to marry you, you are not an Angel/witch/vampire/zombie, etc….

    I’ve read most of these – I LOVE reading and don’t think there’s anything wrong with reading something for fun every so often. Yes, some of them are poorly written (I’m looking at you Twilight) but the story is fun and stupid and kind of an escape over reading about the economy, government, environment, etc all the time.

    I’m also from the school that if it gets a kid to read instead of them sitting hour after hour watching tv or playing video games then it’s not all bad.

    • Madison

      I’m with you, Cheryl. At least kids are reading.

  • Sefa

    It wasn’t that long ago where they’d put the vampirey YA books on the highest or lowest shelves where you’d really have to want them to look for them. Ah, those days.

    I wonder if I’d have gone back to Sweet Valley High books if vamps and weres were popular when I was a teen, just to get away from the oversaturation.

  • illeaturfamily

    @cheryl & chrystani,

    I’m glad you two see my point of view. This stuff may not be my cup of tea and I may have my gripes about these books, but I am glad that it gets kids/people to read. And like you said, cheryl, as long as the readers can identify that these are indeed fictitious works the books themselves aren’t going to cause any harm.

    It is certainly a fad. By far not my favorite one, but it will pass with time.

  • Kyle Amato

    I saw a wall like this at the Barnes and Noble teen section. It really pissed me off as all the cover flap descriptions were generally the same. It inspired me to write my own book that had nothing to do with these silly supernatural romances.
    Instead it has Nazi Zombies in Machu Picchu.

  • Cheryl

    Just to add, I spent my teen years reading Harlequin romance novels and I turned out ok =)

    (talk about an industry that uses the same basic story over and over to make a buck!)

  • orlisnjangel

    twilight really has ruined everything…but please please PLEASE don’t throw Sherrilyn Kenyon’s books into the mix…they may all be the same but even they’re more believable then a vampire that sparkles…i only say it because “Infinity” is on the bottom shelf (the blue book near “Fallen”)…it has zombies so it’s automatically better ^^

  • Ellie

    I don’t know about my counterparts, but I wholly avoid walls like this.
    And the problem isn’t that kids are reading these books, the problem is that they’re reading them TOO much. They’re like 80s action movies; you watch them in between “good” movies, but you don’t take them seriously and you don’t watch them too often or regularly. It’s the same thing with these books. Kids are reading them too much and too often and taking them too seriously.
    These are throw away books, but kids aren’t (metaphorically) throwing them away.

  • norgie

    Reading for reading’s sake isn’t necessarily beneficial. Some books aren’t exactly preaching good things, and if you keep reading books meant for first graders your whole life, it’s not going to do much for you reading ability or your mind.

  • Bobby

    Its not so much what’s wrong with the kids, as what’s wrong with the book stores. The twitard/vampire fanatic (these people are those who jumped on the bandwagon, I respect people who used to and still read good vampire novels) only represent a fraction of kids who read books. I know several high school girls who read twilight and thought it sucked. We have no say what’s being sold. Pop culture and sales are to blame. If it makes money then people will milk it until the next cash cow comes in. I actually just bought an Andrew W.K. shirt at Warped Tour that makes fun of Twilight.

  • FrankenPC

    All this fad is, is an extension of the “Pokemon effect” to an older generation of culturally lost teens. The material is trash, the premise is lame, and the execution is repetitive. But, it doesn’t matter if you are serving up SPAM. When everyone of a particular demographic gets together and idolized something, they all feel kinship. Comfort. That’s all this really is.

  • MetFanMac

    Oy… I’ve seen the same thing happening at my local bookstore. Not pretty.

  • rutkowskilives

    This is actually a great time for YA fiction – there’s some awesome stuff out recently like The Hunger Games, The Book Thief, Maze Runner, pretty much anything by Scott Westerfield, the super unsettling Knife of Never Letting Go, Skulduggery Pleasant, The Graveyard Book…

    If you think Twilight represents the scope of the genre, you’re mistaken.

  • Sam

    I’d agree that Twilight was good for at least getting kids/teens to read if it weren’t so poorly written. As a TA in English at a University in Canada, I’ve begun to see much of the same writing style in Twilight in the essays of first and even second year students. They repeatedly use descriptions and phrases, use terrible metaphors and string out sentences beyond all reason. I do like to see the younger kids reading, but when all they read is Twilight and similarly written materials, they are hurting their writing skills, possibly more than they would if they didn’t read outside of school materials.

    I recognize that the terrible kid/teen books are common and most of us can probably point to a book or series (or even a few) that weren’t well written (although most are still better than Twilight) that we read regardless. I, for one, still read a number of my old “trash” kid/teen books when I’m looking for quick fluffy enjoyment. That being said, I never read only those and I grew up and moved on to more complex and “better” books. The problem with Twilight as a book series is that it doesn’t inspire the readers to go beyond that style of writing and that material. Most people I know who have read Twilight and really enjoyed it (rather than finding it an amusing occupation of a few hours) haven’t strayed far from that field, leaving the development of their literary minds untouched and negating most of the supposed value of the Twilight books as “introductions into reading”.

    PS: illeaturfamily, I read the Twilight books (pretty much have to when you’re working in English with people who are the right age to have really absorbed them) and they were the longest, hardest books I’ve read in quite some time (and I thought War and Peace was an enjoyable read, if a bit long). To people who are just casual readers, they might be “quick and easy to read”, but to anyone who actually enjoys reading, they are likely tedious because they are so poorly written that it’s impossible just to skim over all the painful prose.

  • Secret

    wwwwooooowww, slow down
    normally i really don’t care what others think about the books i read but this is just crazy. These books that are shown in this picture are all amazing books. I have probably read at least one book from each series in that picture and i believe i am the only one who can talk. Thanks to Twilight series the vampire, werewolf, angel type books have taken off.