Cardboard characters; worse in YA?

I’m pretty picky when it comes to reading fiction.  I don’t read trashy books for fun the way I watch trashy movies.  However when I read YA, I’m more open-minded.  Maybe because I write YA I want to get a broader sense of what’s out there.

I think it’s fair to say that in YA there’s more attention paid to plot than language.  YA readers are generally more interested in what’s happening than the way it’s happening.  But why all the 2 dimensional characters?  This is something that I do think kids are aware of.  When they’re presented with really well drawn complex characters they like them.  They say things like; “the book was very real” or “the characters were like real people” or “the characters were interesting”.  Young adults are highly attuned to authenticity.   Regardless of genre, regardless of how many trolls or elves or dueling balrogs you have in your story, you have to have Frodo or Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Bella Swan, or Katniss Everdeen.  It’s not just the story, it’s their story, and you have to want to tag along with them for 200-600 pages.

For every great YA character there seem to be hundreds of “popular girl cliques” or “sad fat girls” or”football player heroes”.   Are stereotypical characters more prevalent in YA than adult fiction?  I’m not sure.

Favorite YA or other fictional character?

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