I Heart Dark Y.A.

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Life’s complicated when you’re popular, school’s starting, and you’re hiding a murder. Click to buy.

by Madeline Iva

S.A.T. Question:

Dark Y.A. is to the Y.A. SUB-GENRE as

A) Extra cheese is to pizza

B) Brazil is to wax

C) Long Island is to ice tea

D) All of the above

The answer is D — Yes, D.

I’ve talked about my love (addiction) to Dark Y.A. before, yes? From Gossip Girl to other youthful stories of mayhem and bloodshed, Dark Y.A. is the BEST STUFF EVAHHHHHHHH! From Veronica Mars to The Fault In Our Stars–it’s clear that Dark Y.A. is absolutely the best quality of Y.A. out there.

Meanwhile, my friends, here is another excellent Dark Y.A. story for you to savor.  For her new book BEST FRIENDS NEVER, Isabelle Drake wrote down the following themes list:

  • good friends gone bad
  • dark secrets
  • lies among friends
  • mean girls
  • mean pretty girls
  • competition
  • high school stuff

It’s a list only a twisted person with a perverse sense of humor could love–and oh, how I adore it.

Notice how this list captures qualities that we are taught to respect and giggle over: friends, pretty stuff, secrets — and pairs them with the nastier side of teenage, corrupt decadence: competition, mean girls, lies among friends, dark secrets, good friends gone bad.

This is the joy of Dark Y.A.

I adore the distinction Isabelle makes in her list between ‘mean girls‘ and ‘mean pretty girls‘.  Yes! It makes me happy on several levels, along with including the all purpose, uber-generic ‘high school stuff‘. I love it, because if there’s one thing that dark Y.A. is not about, it’s the banal, mind-numbing reality of high school. Yeah, it’s included, but only because, you know, teens mostly go to high school every day.  Other than that, you know, it’s not really important at all…

Another fun aspect of Dark Y.A. is the inevitable moral corruption of youth and not just that, the way youth embraces this corruption with a pragmatic ‘whatever’ attitude. No where else does our society portray a nihilistic ‘f*** it, losers’ attitude than in this nasty little sub-genre.

But I don’t mean to define Dark Y.A. as much as I mean to roll around in it and whinny.

Q: What action is recommended if you discover you’re addicted to Dark YA?

A: Feed the beast

If you’re needing a little Dark Y.A. action this weekend, check over this most excellent B&N list and this larger, more encompassing handy Goodreads list.  Here’s a blurb for another Dark Y.A. gem:


Be careful who you keep secrets with, especially in picture-perfect Cherry Grove, a place where average isn’t good enough, and nothing is what it seems.

Lexi Welks wants two things—respect and a college acceptance letter that’ll get her out of too-good-to-be-true Cherry Grove. The problem is that the nasty, life-ruining secret she shares with Monica Sanders is about to go public. If their ugly truth comes out, her plans for college—not happening. And that’s only the beginning of her end.

Monica is the kind of student teachers adore—well-behaved, hard-working and always following the rules. She’s the kind of friend other girls follow—well-dressed, popular and always knowing the right thing to do. If only they knew the truth about her. The truth Lexi found out the hard way, after spending the past summer letting Monica talk her into doing things she knew could come back to ruin her.

Now it’s the first week of school and one of the seniors is missing. Lexi knows a thing or two about the circumstances of his disappearance, but she’s not talking. Neither is Monica. But wicked truths have a way of crawling to the surface and tearing through the most careful plans.

You’re clicking on the cover to check it out, right? Good. Okay, be honest:  do you love Dark Y.A.? What’s your favorite Dark Y.A. book/movie/TV show?  I almost feel like they need a sub-category within the subcategory, because some Dark Y.A. is just about dying or sad topics, while other Y.A. is truly f—ked up–and that’s the kind I prefer.  Which kind do you prefer?

Answer below and follow us at Lady Smut, where we prefer darkness like bats prefer caves.

Madeline Ivaimgres writes fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary romance.  Her novella ‘Sexsomnia’ is available in our LadySmut anthology HERE, and her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, will be out Fall, 2016.

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  • Post authorIsabelle Drake

    You’re so right. Dark YA is unapologetic and raw–no holds barred emotion. I love that. The rules are different in DarkYALand. Want to take someone down? You can. Revenge? Do it. Fight fair? Never!

    Reply to Isabelle Drake
    • Post authorElizabeth SaFleur

      Had I know this, I might have had a different high school experience!

      Reply to Elizabeth SaFleur
  • Post authormadeline iva

    Girl’s rules are totally different as well. Allegiances turn on a dime. Bitchy girls can dominate and survival goes to the witty.

    Reply to madeline iva
  • Pingback: I Heart Dark Y.A. — Lady Smut | madeline iva (Edit)

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