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March 28, 2014 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-03-28

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4 - Friday, March 28, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

A fan's defense of
YA Literature

you read
you prol
too. You
even a fe
even dipj
the clear
adult lit
and wer
who are
In you
adult lit
in the R
Finn" a:
books ar
class syll
° novels
out - YA
"The Fau
of Being.
have bro
a positio
the pub

i't bash it just stellar reviews, feature on "Best
Books of the Year" lists and even
use it's written win prestigious honors like the
for teens National Book Award.
And yet, despite recent success,
YA Lit still faces its fair share of
ALEX BERNARD obstacles, specifically the issue
For the Daily of public perception. Instead
of regarding these novels as
day, Michigan Daily explorations into arguably the
I'd ventureto guessthat if most turbulent and unpredictable
this student newspaper, time of a person's life, skeptics
bably read other things of YAs validity see the genre as
know, books. Maybe an immature breeding ground
w novels. Perhaps you've for flimsy plots. They claim
ped your literarytoe into that, more often than not, teen
n, cool waters of young literature encourages two-
erature (NOTE: these dimensional characters and
are subject to skinny shallow writing. Unlike more
Goblet of Fire mermaids traditional literary classics - the
ewolves kissing humans types you'd read in your upper
in love with sparkling level English class - young adult
.Youhavebeenwarned). novels fail to seriously explore
:r adventures with young what it is to be human, dealing
erature,. maybe you've instead with "inconsequential"
red classics like "Catcher and juvenile questions like "Does
ye," "The Outsiders," "To she like me?" and "Does he like
ckingbird,""Huckleberry me?" In addition, many believe
nd "The Giver." These the YA industry is dominated by
e frequently featured on paranormal romances that also
labi, must-read lists and ask the questions listed above, save
of the best books of all a single caveat: The teenagers are
vampiresorwerewolves ... orboth.
from these influential The above arguments miss
- that your parents the point though. But remember,
readwhentheyfirstcame bad books are published in every
Lit has reached a second genre, not just in teen fiction. Flat
Era of instant classics. characters, shallow plot, and
acclaimed novels like choppy prose are a result of poor
alt in Our Stars," "Perks writing, NOT the protagonist's
a Wallflower," "The Book age. We have seen time and time
The Magicians" and some again that neither age of the
e-way series about a boy narrator nor the age of target
with an ugly forehead audience play any factor in the
ught teen literature to qualityofabook.
n of prominence within J.D. Salinger, one of the most
lishing industry. These influential American writers ofthe
consistently receive twentieth century, predominantly

wrote about teenagers
struggling with everything from
relationships and sex to death
and suicide. Does Salinger's
exploration of the former make
his work less meaningful? Of
course not. Like the best writers
of his day, Salinger's prose flowed
from the page like water from
a tap, gripping his readers and
forcing them to hang on his every
mysterious publication.
Now, some may criticize
contemporary YA Lit as diverging
from the Salinger model by using
these issues without addressing
"deeper" concerns like the
brevity and tragedy that is the
"human condition." I offer this
to you though: The little issues
are what it means to be human.
Does he like me? Does she like
me? These questions bounce
around our brains like lottery
balls. Young adult novels explore
these questions and more. And
that's what is so great about teen
fiction: the unironic examination
of adolescence and life beyond
adolescence. Why doesn't she like
me? Will Iever meet anyone? What
is my future? Who will I become?
How shouldIlive my life? What isa
good life?Andfor that matter, what
is death?
These questions drive young
adult literature into what it is
today: a thriving industry on the
rise. A genre in which an honest
exploration of what it means to
be anything at all is valued above
unnecessary complexity. Through
this examination, unique plot,
unforgettable characters and
captivating prose pours out the
faucet into the cool, not-so-calm
YA waters where the deep end isn't
just for adults.


Oxford is near London, and a comma is grammar. Get it?
Reid powers London

Grammar debut album

DailyArts Writer
Without Hannah Reid, Lon-
don Grammar doesn't exist.
If you want to get technical, it
was guitar-
ist Dan Roth-
man who first
reached out If You Wait
to Reid back London
in 2009 when
they were Grammar
both freshmen Columbia
at University
of Notting-
ham, but it's Reid's wholesome
voice that stands apart and car-
ries the trio. Without it, you're
left with keyboardist/drummer
Dominic Major and Rothman's
minimal accompaniment -
indeed graceful and sensitive,
but not worthy of all the hype
the band has already garnered.
Its debut album If You Wait
has already made waves across
the UK since its release this
past September. Americans
can finally join the conversa-
tion later this week when the
record officially drops in the
I've been listening to all
11 tracks non-stop for a few
months now (thank you Spotify
gods). Usually this over-playing
leads me to sickness, but I have
a theory that Reid's voice could
cure cancer. It's angelic yet
brooding, pure yet fierce, con-
suming yet ethereal. Her range
is incredibly wide, flirting

with l
ence v
I d
is th
soft s
like s

y between a deep chest never stray too far from the box
and tragic falsetto. Flor- they've defined. Reid's melodies
Welch is first to mind, but are distinct, each different from
fills the room with mel- the last, all equally gripping
ly melodies that swoon and gut-wrenching, yet inher-
ittle support, unlike Flor- ently similar in some way that
who's backed by her grand may stay best undefined. The
of Machines. album holds together tightly,
on't mean to diminish almost too tightly, and if I had
san and Major's role in one wish, it would be a song or
)n Grammar. It's their two that step farther from the
. instrumentation that band's glumly ethereal sound.
e current under Reid's For that reason, don't play
ing waves. Major's simple London Grammar at a party.
gios and distant drum- If you happen to make that
layered with Rothman's mistake, you may find all your
taccato picking compli- guests curled up .in separate
Reid from underneath, corners pondering existence
e's the guide and they her and sobbing into their own
They give her powerful shoulders at the realization
the support of a defined that this seemingly happy get-
together is an illusion hiding
the blue truth that we are all
actually alone and will always
Vocals are be. Forever. It would be quite a
forlorn party you see.- memo-
eyond good; rable I don't doubt - but for all
the wrong reasons.
ey're out of No, instead I recommend
. London Grammar at night,
khis world. in the dark, when in need of
inspiration, after a break-up
or before bed. To be honest, I
have this weird fantasy where
cal ambience, but more so, Reid tucks me in and sing's me
om it requires to breathe John Denver's "Leaving on a Jet
erce souls. Plane" like mom used to back
it's Reid's melodies that when I slept in a bunk bed. And
the album captivating. lucky for me, London Grammar
man and Major's delicate will be at the Shelter in Detroit
on the lead track "Hey April 5. I hope she says yes,
is indicative of their because certain voices in this
on the next ten, and they world stand apart.


the ro
and pi


0MG is that a TMNJ
There's no shame in
your TV preferences

DailyArts Writer
A couple of weeks ago I wrote an
article about the shows I was most
excited to seethis year. One of those
shows was "Believe," a science-
fiction drama created by Oscar
winning director, Alfonso Cuar6n
("Gravity") and produced by J.J.
Abrams ("Star Wars Episode VII").
It seemed like a magic combination.
Then I started readingreviews.
Words like "cliched" and
"cheesy" were thrown around
by numerous critics and Rotten
Tomato's Tomatometer dropped
to 36 percent approval. I was disap-
pointedbefore Ieven saw the show.
I kept thinking, "How could this
have happened? How could such
talented people fail so miserably?"
Prepared to utterly despise the
show, I downloaded the first two
episodes and braced myself for the
worst. But something happened
that I didn't anticipate: I actually
Yes, despite all the critics
and friends who warned me of
the gigantic letdown that was
"Believe," I honestly really enjoyed
those first two episodes. Sure, they
weren't transcendent and there's a
lot ofroom for improvement,but for

a brand newshow on network tele- ly don't like what the character
vision?Yeah,it was pretty cool. The did," or "they shouldn't have
characters are interesting, notably done that one thing, now the
Joey Sequoyah as super-powered show's ruined forever."
Bo, and the effects are great for TV. Critics have already branded
The direction in the pilot is classic "Believe" as "rotten" or "bad."
Cuar6n and while certain aspects Yet, from the two episodes that
weren't perfect, it definitely had have aired, how the hell can we
the same things going for it as the already beso sure that "Believe"
dearly departed "Fringe." is a dud? Don't get me wrong;
Too often, people will begin there are many valid critiques of
a conversation about TV with the show. Yet, there's something
"I know I shouldn't like it" or mean-spirited in adamantly
describe a certain show as a trashing a TV show before it
even finds its footing. A lot of
great television shows have
had rocky starts: "Parks and
Like what Recreation," "Bob's Burgers"
Youlike, hell, even "Breaking Bad" took
yOU a while to really get going. But
once they did, we saw some-
thing truly special.
There are plenty of shows
"guilty pleasure." But what's so out there from talented creators
guilty about connecting with that might actually be interest-
any type of fiction? Sure, real- ing if given the chance. If you
ity TV is pretty much blatantly don't like the characters, fine.
lying to the audience (making If you think the story's dumb,
things up and calling it "real life" that's your call, too. But under-
is pretty much the definition of stand this: there's a big differ-
the phrase "blatantly lying"), ence between something being
but I never understood the same bad and simply not liking some-
complaints about fiction. How thing. The only rule for televi-
can someone uninvolved in the sion is this: Love what you like,
creative process say, "I just real- ignore what you don't.

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KNOW New York University
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TO APPLY, Free and open to the public
EMAIL Follow us: @umisr, @rcgdjisr
AKSE@UMICH. Join the conversation: #RCGDseminar
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