Discussion: Thoughts on YA Novellas and Short Stories

I’ve noticed a trend over the last few years where YA authors are putting out lots of novellas and short stories to accompany their series. Examples:

throne of glass novellas

The selection novellas

Please tell me, WHO ASKED FOR THESE??? I already have a hard enough time reading all of the books in a series, but now I have to read all of these novellas and short stories too? I know that I don’t HAVE to read them–nobody’s forcing me. But it feels like if the author’s putting it out there, then maybe I’m supposed to get additional information about characters or events from these stories.

However, I’ve found that a lot of times reading the extra material does not help or change my viewpoints about characters or events. If the events in the short story or novella were so important, then the author should have included that information in the book/series to begin with. To be completely honest–and I don’t really like feeling this way–it feels to me like these short stories and novellas are published purely to make more money by milking an idea that’s working for all that it’s worth. And that just leaves a bad taste in my mouth where that author is concerned. I feel like I, as a reader, am being taken advantage of.

kim kardashian money gif

So my position is that these little “extras” are unnecessary and just create added stress as a reader (not to mention cost, because libraries don’t often carry these–you actually have to buy them). Let’s think about one of the greatest series that has ever been: Harry Potter. If she wanted to, J.K. Rowling could 100% write a million more stories about day-to-day life at Hogwarts featuring a variety of characters. But she hasn’t. Sure, she’s fleshed out the world and made movies, etc. but she hasn’t done anything else with Harry, Ron, and Hermione and their time at Hogwarts. If she wanted to, I know for a fact that people would pay for that. So why hasn’t she chosen to do that while many lesser known and less popular authors with smaller fandoms have?

At the end of the day, I’m just sitting here pleading for authors to give me the whole story in one or two books (three max). I don’t have time to read four, five, eight book series anymore and I certainly don’t have time to read 50-100 page novellas and short stories.

What are your opinions on YA short stories and novellas? Are you a fan? Why do you think authors write them? Let me know in the comments!

29 thoughts on “Discussion: Thoughts on YA Novellas and Short Stories

  1. I actually disagree. I love novellas and always read them. A lot of times because if the main series is from one person’s pov the novellas will go inside the head of someone else. So it’s not always EXTRA information, it’s just the part of it that you didn’t see because the main character was elsewhere. To me it’s more like connecting the dots you know?
    Also, I disagree that they’re strictly for money because most are less than $3 and only on kindle which is nothing compared to a new release in hardcover.
    My opinion on novellas tends to be unpopular though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can see where you’re coming from and appreciate the differing perspective. I guess to address your first point, I personally don’t feel the need to connect any more dots than what the author originally gave me. But I can see how some readers would like that.
      Then to your second point, you’re right that $3 isn’t a lot by itself, but compared to the usual price per page of a novel on Amazon, it’s still a mark-up ($3 for 50 pgs vs $10 for 350 pgs). And then when you’re buying four or five of those a series….it adds up.

      Like

    2. I actually agree with Bookmark Chronicles. I love novellas for the reasons she mentioned for sure. Especially if I love a series, I’m excited to read any story that relates to the series, long or short.

      Also, I’d imagine novellas are a fantastic way for authors to dig a bit deeper into the development of their characters. A lot of times these are writing exercises that the author chooses to share with fans.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I see what you’re saying for sure. I guess they’re just not for me. I’ve tried to read novellas from series that I’ve really liked and just haven’t found them worth it. Obviously, though, there are more people out there who are like you guys who DO enjoy it and that’s why authors are doing it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I tend to agree with you. I love some of these series but don’t think I’ve ever picked up the novellas and I don’t feel like I missed anything to each their own though. 🙂 I have a hard enough time finishing some series!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It depends. I can go either way, depending on the series. I thought the ToG ones were unnecessary. They only served to introduce characters that became important later on, and I only really liked one of them. That info could have been summarized in the main books. That series is already so long as it is, and has gone way more adult than it initially was, a little too adult actually, but that’s a discussion for another time.

    While not totally necessary to the main plot, I found that some of the novellas from The Selection helped me to understand characters better, especially Aspen who I didn’t like. In third person narratives you can get inside multiple character’s heads, but in first person POV things are a bit one sided, so when it comes to getting a new perspective like we did with these, I like them.

    I liked all the stories in Stars Above, except The Little Android which didn’t seem to have any bearing on the plot what so ever. However, some of it could have been told in flashback, but then again we don’t know if the editors cut it for length reasons and decided to release it this way instead. Missing/extra scenes may not always be the authors choice to cut from a manuscript and releasing it this way be the only way to do it.

    As for the DoSB novella, Night of Cake and Puppets, I think including that in the novel would have distracted from the main plot, but I love that we got it because I loved the character of Zuze (I’m a petite blonde with a penchant for fierceness as well). It showed a different side of her, and was cute and romantic.

    So I think it just depends. I think the ToG ones are capitalizing on the fandom. Some of the Selection ones are too, but not all.

    As for price, now that some of them are being collected and bound up, you can wait for a print edition. And I think some of them are listed for as little as 99 cents, depending on fandom and publisher.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I completely agree with this. I don’t read barely any YA anymore, but it felt like such a money grab. I remember buying an extra book for a series I liked and it was literally, like, 5 pages and it cost so much! I like reading more adult books now where you get the whole story in one book, or at least some resolution before the next book in a series, and no little extra books. That’s just me, though. I know a lot of people love the little extras.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree and at the same time I don’t. Here’s why: I totally understand where you’re coming from- this used to be my perspective too, until I read The Tailor by Leigh Bardugo and bam! My opinion changed. I definitely agree that, for books you don’t give a damn or give too little damns about, you should definitely not read its novellas/ short stories. I do, however, think they can be excellent extras: enjoyable, written in the same style as the books, getting more detailed etc. Of course, it all depends on your standing and opinion on the original book/series. Great discussion post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve never liked these novellas. I don’t find many of them particularly good or interesting. They seem primarily written to earn a little extra cash. I appreciate the need to write for your living, but I’d still rather not waste my money on a novella. I’d rather buy a book meant to be in the series from the start.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I want to like novellas and prequels (I even own a few), but I never seem to read them. I kind of feel like if there was something important about a character it should have been introduced in the series anyway. I don’t necessarily think a whole book (even if it’s short) should be written about it if the author didn’t seem to think it needed elaboration to begin with. And the cynical side of me, like you, thinks it’s mostly a ploy to get more money out of readers.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is such a great post! I’ve had these very thoughts about novellas. I own several of them and yet, I have actually read very few, even of the ones I own! I feel like unless they give us some big revelation on the characters that we might not otherwise be able to get from the actual book, then they aren’t needed. And even then, they could totally find a way to add it to the main story. And you are so right about the stress factor. I never read the Throne of Glass novellas but they all tied into Empire of Storms so now I feel like I have to read them! I have neither the time nor the money for this!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve owned Stars Above since it first came out and I’ve only read like two of the stories inside. Same as with Four, the Divergent novella compilation. I bought that on the day it came out and I still haven’t read it. I don’t know why I always buy them if I never really intend to read them.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I FEEL THIS SO MUCH. I can’t keep up with all of these novellas! If they eventually bind them all together and release them in a “book” format I may read them (but hey the Assassin’s blade is still sitting unread on my shelf YEARS later) but I’m right there with you- it’s exhausting trying to keep up with all of these short stories that are released. If it’s a novella that is long enough to feel like an actual book, that’s one thing, but when they’re like 30-50 pages I usually don’t bother (even though I still feel like I’m missing out a little bit!)

    Liked by 1 person

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