I try not to know a lot about our popular culture. But it has a way of jumping up and butting me between the eyes…
Today at the supermarket I discovered Ever After High, a new series of Young Adult fantasy books… based on a web series and a fashion doll franchise. in other words, a money machine. They’re selling the dolls, they’re selling the video games, and now they’re selling books.
It should be a good idea. The premise is, these are the teenage offspring of various fairy tale characters, preparing to follow in their parents’ and grandparents’ footsteps so that the tales can go on for another generation. Only some of the youngsters don’t want to follow in those footsteps–especially the children of fairy tale villains who don’t want to get killed or embarrassed for the umpteenth generation in a row. They want to branch out into their own tales. So there’s a conflict.
That could be cool, right? But there’s a catch.
All these characters currently attend a fairy tale high school.
No… no! High school???
Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t most of the readers for these books already in high school, or middle school, and already know all about it? What kind of fantasy drops you right back in where you already are? Where is the escape?
Do you know anyone who looks back on high school as the very best days of his or her life?
And so we have yet another example of YA fiction mummifying young readers’ imaginations, equipping them with lead wings, binding the feet of the spirit… Is this so they’ll grow up with the ability to believe in Global Warming? Is this to turn them into docile little subjects of the king, perpetual consumers, and conformists?