A Trope That Never Bothered Me Before

So I finally sat down to read Save the Date by Morgan Matson. I’m going to preface this post by saying that Morgan Matson is one of my all time favorite authors and I will read absolutely anything that she comes out with. I also used to be quite obsessed with her Top 8 series the she wrote under the alias Katie Finn.

Warning you now that this post will contain minor spoilers for Morgan Matson’s books.

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I got this picture off of Morgan Matson’s website in case any of you were wondering 🙂

I’ve read every single one of her books multiple times (except Second Chance Summer, because 1. It makes me sob and 2. I don’t have a physical copy of it) and until reading Save the Date I never realized that there was a common theme in her books that now really bugs me.

In almost every single one of these books, the main character is a high school student (I think every single one is said to be 17) and the love interest is in college. As I was reading STD (yes, I am going to refer to it as that for the rest of this post, sorry!!) I kind of figured that Jesse was going to be a scumbag, it just made sense that Charlie had to have her little crush shattered by the person she thought was her “dream guy”. It made me so uncomfortable that Jesse is a sophomore in college and he’s trying to have a casual hook-up relationship not only with his best friend’s sister but also a high schooler.

Matson’s main characters are all romanced and a few are even implied to have lost their virginities to these college boys. To me this just screams inappropriate. I get that a lot of these are very innocent, I mean apart from scumbag Jesse, the farthest Charlie goes with a guy is a kiss on the cheek from Bill at the end of STD. There’s also a whole lot of underage drinking and other shenanigans… Like in The Unexpected Everything Andie was almost caught drinking at the age of 14, yep FOURTEEN! And okay, maybe I did spend my entire high school career reading books and staying up too late scrolling through Tumblr and taking too many AP classes but I still feel like 14 is really young to be out partying.

When I first read Matson’s books I was in high school and I never thought anything of an age difference or even a lifestyle difference but now that I’m older and have gone off to college and just been in the “real world” for a while I can’t even begin to imagine wanting to date a high schooler. Now I do think it’s different when someone continues to date a younger boyfriend/girlfriend when they leave for college but I also don’t feel comfortable with people who do things like date a freshman when they’re a senior. And yes, most of the characters are just finishing up their first years of school (or in Clark’s case, not in school at all) but that’s a whole year of being an adult and they’re deciding to be with high schoolers.

And you know what, maybe I’m crazy in developing this dislike for the pairings that are developed in these books but I just feel like no one who has moved past high school should be dating someone who is still 17. I’m in no way condemning Matson’s books, but I also don’t want impressionable young girls to read these books and fall for the Jesse’s because it’s “cool” or “exciting” to be in love with a college guy. Trust me, young girls reading this, college guys aren’t that great… Honestly, most guys aren’t that great. Read your books and wait to find someone who actually cares about you!

On a similar note, I also have never found myself interested in books where college students fall for their professors. I just think it’s a storyline that doesn’t make sense. There’s a power difference there that makes me uncomfortable and I don’t really think that there needs to be as many stories involving this storyline as there are.

As I’m working through Morgan Matson’s books again this spring, as I tend to do, I have to wonder how many other odd tropes I’ve just looked over in books before. Like I mentioned in my Rereading Old Favorites post I have to take a step back from a good chunk of my old favorites just because there are so many issues in them now that I completely brushed over in the past.

I really do like Matson’s books but I do hope that girls don’t romanticize dating an older boy because of the couples that she creates. When I was first reading her books it never occurred to me that this could even be an issue, I didn’t know any older boys and honestly I know that not a single one would’ve looked my way anyways. But I know that there are other girls out there that would and still will catch the attention of older men and I genuinely worry. I know that high school relationships can be awkward but that doesn’t mean that we have to glorify dating older people because they’re “mature” and “experienced”.

All in all, I don’t want to just brush this off but at the same time I have to wonder just how influential these relationships might be… I mean, maybe I’m reading too much into things and it means nothing. But I just got that nagging thought after reading STD and had to sit down to write about it.

Do any of you have thoughts on this? Or know of other YA books that have this trope? I couldn’t think of any off the top of my head but I’m sure there are others out there.

 

The Books That Shaped Me

At this point in my life, I have read too many books to count. Going to the library as a kid was one of my favorite outings and every year my uncle used to give me $50 to Barnes and Noble for Christmas. Though nowadays I struggle greatly to find my motivation to read I still love devouring books and when I find a good one it makes me so grateful.

I was going through my goodreads account looking at all the books I had there so that I could look some stuff up for another blog post and I couldn’t help but get slightly emotional over all of the books that I had listed on there that I read way back in elementary and middle school. Books played such a pivotal role in my childhood that I decided to round up a bunch of the books that really shaped me as a person and as a reader and share them with you. I feel like this post could get really long so I might end up sharing this in parts!

I’m basically just going to compile this list with just the names of the books/authors with some commentary when I see fit because I feel like if I were to add my commentary to every single one of these this post would be two miles long and no one would read it! However, if you are interested in more of my commentary on certain books or series just comment on this post and I can make singular posts about certain books/series if you want to know more!

Anyways, here are the books that shaped me!

The Harry Potter series

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Books written by Margaret Peterson Haddix

RunningOutofTime

Specifically Running Out of Time which to this day I maintain as being one of my all time favorite books. Which reminds me, I need to buy a new copy of this still as my last one was stolen from me… This story is just crazy and I highly recommend this book to anyone!

The Main Street series by Ann M. Martin

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Though in general Ann M. Martin’s books all were a really big childhood, her Main Street series was probably my favorite (and I’m honestly still trying to read them!) Her Babysitter’s Club series will always be a classic as well.

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

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When I first read this series the books were still being released and I remember waiting for the last book and I was so excited when it finally showed up at my library and I could read it! It was the weirdest set of books I had ever read and I was genuinely extremely confused by the entire experience of reading this but I loved it!

American Girl books

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I think that these books had a really big influence into my love of history, as did a few others on this list. American Girl books and the dolls were huge in my life. The magazine was my first ever subscription and I have every single one of those saved in a box still! Kit was my favorite and to this day I still watch the movies if I can get my hands on them!

Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder

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Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park

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I have to brag for a second when I mention this book. We actually read this book for a school thing (I can’t remember what it was called but everyone in my grade got this book for free and after we read it we had a big game of jeopardy) and I have to credit myself for winning grade-wide jeopardy for my class. All because I knew the name of the study of bugs! It’s entomology btw if any of you wanted to know. I will also say that I think that this book was one of the first times that I really stopped to think about how creatures that aren’t humans are treated and it made me really sad!

The Beacon Street Girls Series

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Somewhere out there, there is a website that is somehow related to this series that has my first ever attempts at blogging on it. I’m not even going to lie, as I’m writing this post I’m thinking about going to the library to check out books from this series. I loved these books so much growing up! I actually kind of regret getting rid of my collection of them!

Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton

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Bethany Hamilton, to this day, is one of my biggest heroes! Her faith, strength, and heart are so inspiring and I’m so glad that I discovered her when I did. In sixth grade I actually did an entire presentation as her after reading this book. She’s an amazing woman and I love following what she does!

Halfway to the Sky by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

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This (along with the next book on the list) have been huge in influencing my wanting to explore more. Halfway to the Sky actually inspired my want to hike the Appalachian Trail someday!

Skye’s the Limit by Megan Shull

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The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

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I read this book in sixth grade as well and actually read it for a small reading group. The reason this made it onto the list has more to do with my experience of reading it though instead of the story itself (though I do love the story and totally want to reread this!). I’ll try to tell the story quickly…

So back in first grade I got really excited about a book that I was reading for a reading group and ended up reading the whole thing in one night. The next day I said this to my teacher and it was like I had done something illegal! She yelled at me in front of my entire reading group telling me that I was horrible for not being able to follow directions and that I shouldn’t have read ahead and should never do it again. So I tried to never read ahead again (and I still think that this might be why I hated reading books for school more often than not).

Then in sixth grade, I ended up reading this entire book in one night because it was so entertaining I had to finish it! I revealed this to my reading group during our discussion and one of the girls actually told the teacher when she came around to talk to us… I was genuinely terrified when my group mate told her but my teacher almost immediately asked me what I thought of the ending and couldn’t help but discuss how much I had liked the book. The way she reacted compared to my first grade teacher actually shocked me and made me realize just how important it is to have good teachers who have fun/encourage their students to do stuff.

Every Soul A Star by Wendy Mass

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The Sisters Club by Megan McDonald

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Love, Ruby Lavender by Deborah Wiles

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This book kickstarted this weird obsession with anthropology that has always stuck in the back of my head. It’s the reason that I loved the show Bones so much and honestly has now inspired me in my newest collegiate pursuit. Weird how random things will end up influencing your entire life!

Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris

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And finally…

The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages

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I borrowed this from a friend in elementary school and have been hooked on learning about World War II ever since! This book, of all of these, probably jumpstarted my love of history more than anything and I credit this to my insanely crazy interest in the World Wars (especially the experience of those on the homefront) ever since.

So now that I’ve talked your ear off… I want to know, what books shaped you as a kid? What was your favorite book growing up? I’d love to read them!

 

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