One of the first things you learn as a beginner author is that while dialogue should give the reader the impression that it's the way people talk, it shouldn't be exactly how people talk.
That is, you shouldn't include the ums and pauses and repetition. You generally shouldn't include the boring inane small talk we all use to break the ice with each other or to get warmed up. You should get to the point, have your characters express themselves in as few words as possible, and expressing even more than the words actually say with subtext. Dialogue is closer to how we wished we spoke, or how we think we speak, rather than how we really speak.
But I feel like some YA authors forget this or think it doesn't apply to them. And editors let them get away with it.
To the point where I wonder if they think the rule doesn't apply to YA. I even started to wonder if teen readers want to read dialogue that's closer to how they actually speak.
But I, for one, don't think so. It's one reason why I haven't enjoyed a lot of contemporary YA I've read. Not all. Just some.
It's like when you hear a teen, like, speaking and like, they're saying like, like a lot, and it's like, that's okay, she's a teen and, like, that's how she talks, so like it makes sense that like the author wrote, like, all the dialogue with a lot of likes. But I think like it gets, like, you know, like kind of repetitious and annoying and, like, I start to feel like, if I were an actual, like, teen, I'd feel like the author was, like, mocking me, or like, talking down to me, not like, trying to sound like me or relate to me.
I'm reading a critically acclaimed YA novel right now. And it's from about 10 years ago. And it's not contemporary, it's sci-fi. And it's clever. It's a cool concept. I wish I'd written it. The author really commits to the world and the language these teens use, and for the most part it really works but, like, I wish the author had, like, used the word like less often.
The other YA book I read this year with really quirky language was Blood Red Road, but that one really worked for me. The language was different, it took a while to get into the flow of it, but it wasn't annoying. For this new one I'm reading, the language is getting in the way of the story for me.
Does that ever happen to you? If the language is annoying, can you enjoy a story?