After I read the Twilight Saga, I was very put off by the author's cavalier attitude towards stalking and abusive behavior (you can read my full rant here: http://sinnfulbooks.blogspot.com/2011/11/sinnful-2-twilight-series.html). I figured that it was something completely off kilter with the author. However, as I started to read more young adult novels, I noticed that it is a startling trend! In many—not all—young adult novels, the main love interest tends to be an overbearing, abusive stalker. And, for the life of me, I cannot understand why.
In this (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/230059544) review on Goodreads, the reader confronts the issues and behavior of a severely unhinged character. And, even though the behavior is disgusting, the author defends the behavior (http://i814.photobucket.com/albums/zz64/Kemisz86/McGuireBlogpost1.png)! Honestly, I'm not sure what is worse, writing the behavior or defending it.
To me, the most sickening thing about this is how easily young girls accept this as normal. They make doe eyes at characters like Edward Cullen and Patch (Hush, Hush love interest); however, these boys are abrasive, verbally and physically abusive, stalkers, and so on. I cannot understand why authors are writing these characters. Girls have a hard enough time dealing with self-esteem and self-worth issues on top of the normal teenage angst without adding this element. These boys are written as these beautiful, dark, mysterious man any girl would want, so it is natural that teenage girls will flock after them. However, teenagers are very impressionable. They use young adult novels as a way to experience life and to show them life lessons. What are we telling this new generation of women? We are teaching them to be weak, that they are not worth a decent man, etc. And, to take it further, it is showing boys that this is desirable behavior.
People, with the continuation of these books and male leads, we are creating and nurturing a generation of abusers, stalkers, and victims. Girls—and, of course, boys—need good, strong role models. They need to be taught to value themselves and others. Relationships where one partner will mention that they have considered killing you (Hush, Hush) or sat outside your window watching you sleep (Twilight) is not cute or attractive. I'm sorry, but it is wrong and not normal behavior.
I could go on and on about this. I feel very, very strongly about the current trend in young adult books. And I am seriously concerned at the attitude of acceptance by parents, readers, and authors. Teenagers do not have enough life experience to understand the serious ramifications of these behaviors; however, the completely blase response of the authors and the rising trend of this character base is a serious concern.