Technology in YA // Let’s talk!

Here I am with yet another discussion post. Today I want to talk about technology in YA literature or rather the lack thereof. For some reason this aspect of a teenager’s life is so often forgotten. Why is that?

I got the idea for this post after reading The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli  This is one of the few books, if not the only one, were the amount of technology is spot on. The characters always have their phone with them. They text. Pinterest, Tumblr, Youtube and Etsy are mentioned. These are al so normal things in the life of a teenager and believe me, I can know.

So why is this aspect so often forgotten?

One of the reasons I can think of is that it would make the story too easy. Sometimes storylines involve no contact between certain characters, something that would be fixed right away if they had their phones.

Or maybe it is because it doesn’t fit in the world. I can understand that when it comes to Historical Fiction or Fantasy. Contemporary however, I don’t. It makes the story much less relatable or real.

Maybe authors do it because it dates a book. Only a few years back MSN messenger was frequently used and would have been relatable in a book, but now the book would be dated. Then again if a book really is that good and people still read it in let’s say fifty years, isn’t dated technology part of the charm?

Those are the reasons I can think of right now. Before I go I want to make clear that a lack of technology wont stop me from reading a book. When a book does have the right amount of it though I will be more likely to love it and find it relatable.

So what do you think? Is there not enough technology in YA? Do you mind? Tell me in the comments! I’d love to hear your opinions.

See you next time! Love,


33 thoughts on “Technology in YA // Let’s talk!

  1. As you pointed out, I feel like a big part of the problem is that authors feel like it dates the book because technology changes so rapidly. But we read classics with “technology” from centuries ago and it still makes sense and is great literature, so why should our modern technology be any different?
    Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think a lot of technology steals scenes away from the reader. Think about Harry Potter. The internet was around in the early 90s, what if they’d just used a computer to look things up instead of going to the library. They wouldn’t h ave overheard students talking, wouldn’t have found notes, wouldn’t have stopped on the way there and back. Technology, especially that of today and tomorrow, can sometimes act like a deus ex machina, so authors are wise to avoid using it heavily or having characters conveniently forget that they have access to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You do have a fair point there. One of my favourite things from Harry Potter is the library! We indeed wouldn’t have had that if they used technology more often. So I do agree it can be very convenient for the plot if technology is left out.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting topic!

    I struggle with this myself when I’m working on my YA novel. I recognize that teens these days are 100% into technology in a way that I myself (as a 27-year-old) might not even understand completely. I do try to incorporate technology, but I try to do it in a way that adds from (without distracting from) the plot. For instance, I have characters text each other to meet up somewhere, or about homework or whatever’s going on in their lives. But most of the dialogue takes place in person (although, in my defense, the characters in question are queer and closeted, so they’re worried about their messages being seen by someone else). I agree with you that Upside dealt with it in such a realistic way. I definitely aspire to that level of writing, haha.

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  4. This is an interesting topic! Personally I tend to find that books rarely feature much technology, which I do find slightly weird considering how much the world relies on technology now. I also really enjoy books told with unique formats such as emails and texts, because they do make the story more relatable, and in some cases makes the book more interesting too.

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  5. I am on team “dates the book”. As a YA author wanna be I am constantly worried that something I reference in a novel won’t be relatable five years down the road, or even two years really. Like you said MSN used to be relevant, Facebook used to be relevant, nowadays its all Instagram and twitter but who knows how long those things will matter?

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  10. Great topic! I agree with others that it dates the book. Have you ever seen a show from the early 90s with the gigantic “mobile” phones and laptops? Reminds me of a Frasier episode where Roz gets all excited because the cafe installed phone jacks so she could go online and use chatrooms… Instantly dates the show.

    Also, not including technology probably gives the plot another layer of authenticity. Repeatedly saying “he texted her” or “she Tweeted” may give the reader imagery of the characters sitting around texting instead of actually doing things.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Eva — I’m Eva, too! And I think this is such a difficult thing for YA authors to figure out. The technology is changing so fast! As a thirty-something, I’m afraid of getting it wrong. For example, I know teenagers use snapchat right now, but I don’t. And who knows what teenagers are going to be using a few years from now. For me it’s definitely both a fear of dating the novel but also a fear of getting it wrong!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi! I do get that. I understand that it can be difficult. I don’t even know everything and I’m 15. It’s true that most teens prefer no technology in a book than technology that is done wrong. Thus it’s understandable that authors leave it out in fear of doing it wrong.


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