Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Glowering and Lip Biting

I’ve had the pleasure of losing myself in about 35 young adult and juvenile fiction reads this summer. Some of you might wonder how I read that many books (I’m still reading, by the way). Young adult books are generally shorter and therefore quicker reads than adult novels, so I was easily able to get through several books a week. Also, it’s no secret that I did quite a bit of kid ignoring and my kids, in turn, did quite a bit of TV watching and computer playing (a trend which will change as of September 4th. Watch this blog for exciting updates).

I’ve noticed a couple of confusing trends in the books I’ve read this summer. First, there was a lot of “glowering” going on among the main characters. I suppose this really shouldn’t be confusing since the subjects of these books are generally teenagers and of course glowering is one of the things teens do best. Ethan is only 9 and is already working on an impressively convincing “pre-glower.”

Why can’t these angry and discontented teens scowl or grimace? What about moue or lour, if you want to get a bit fancy? And don’t forget the solid standby, “looking daggers” or the oldie but goodie, “dirty look.”

I’m just saying, there are other ways to describe a stare with sullen dislike, anger or discontent. Yet, “glower” seems to be the word du jour. Is anyone else noticing this?

The second confusing trend might actually be more disturbing than confusing. Way too many book kids are biting their lips until they taste blood. Whether in response to surprise, excitement, anger, frayed nerves, fear or despair, biting through one’s own lip seems to be a common practice among many fictional characters.

It’s been a while since I was a teen, but I am certain I would clearly remember biting my lip, on purpose, until I drew blood. I never did it, and I am pretty sure my sisters and friends didn’t bite through their lips either. So, what’s up with all these fictional characters gnawing on themselves?

I can understand if one or two book kids were doing this, but there are actually quite a few (I didn’t keep a tally, so you’ll just have to trust me.) At any rate, I hope the fictional lip biting trend passes. If not, I’m going to have to glower at someone!


Catherine said...

It's so true! Did you ever read The Earth My Butt and Other Big Round Things? I wonder if she glowers and lip bites. If you haven't read it yet I can bring it to you on Friday.

You need to write a YA book now.

Afton said...

Yes, bring it!