March 9, 2018, by Words on Words
In Defence of ‘The YouTube Book’
This blog post was written by first year English student, Polly Moss.
When walking into a Waterstones or WHSmith and heading to the Young Adult section nowadays it is not uncommon to come across a shelf reserved specifically for books written by YouTubers. Nestled among the vampire romance and dystopian fiction many remember as the books that defined their teens, are numerous texts written by (ordinarily) attractive twenty-somethings whether it is an autobiography or a work of fiction.
It would be easy to consider all these books as a means for internet stars to make more money off their often very young impressionable audiences (for example, if we consider the scandal surrounding Zoe Sugg aka Zoella having a ghost writer for her novel),however there is an undeniable merit to them.
As someone whose teen years correlated with the time that YouTubers began to make money off their videos, I have been and often still am someone who watches videos on the site to tune out. As a result of this, I have read some books written by creators on the site, and I believe they have their place. Carrie Hope Fletcher’s novel On the Other Side is a heart-wrenching romance and similarly, Dodie Clark’s autobiography Secrets for the Mad is a beautifully written self-reflection on her life so far from her experience of the mental illness depersonalisation to anecdotes on relationships and growing up.
Similarly, despite the controversy surrounding her own novel, Zoe Sugg’s book club in partnership with WHSmith is helping young teenagers pick up books and read – something which cannot be a bad thing in a world saturated by the fear that a love of reading is slowly dying. Ultimately then, if the books put out by YouTubers are getting preteens reading then this should be something to celebrate rather than condemn.