The Saturday Oreo #6: Gaps In YA

There are a lot of gaping holes in the book world, in my opinion. There are so many stories and diverse point-of-views we have not seen explored. Indulge me while I discuss some of what I want to see in the future.

  •  I want  multisexual black queens that transform into badass dragons

As soon as I saw Adam Silvera talking about gay dragons in this guest post on Gay YA, my immediate reaction was, “WHY ISN’T THIS A THING?!”. Can you imagine how badass that would be?! Two dragon queens that are WoC or two dragon kings fighting crime against some corrupt dragon time lord or warring against other dragon/species clans?! I WANT!

  • I want more POC MC’s that are involved in other minorities (re: intersectionality) 

An example is above, but like mental illness in there, too, maybe—no, definitely.

Authors seem afraid that publishing will think it’s too much. And I’m over here dying for it. There are people who need it. Like, the other night,–ha, June 30th—there was an epic two-fer of a Gay YA chat. We were discussing MHTN (More Happy Than Not) and NotA (None of The Above) and someone inquired why Kristin wasn’t Poc, and the reply was something along the lines that the author was afraid publishing would think it’s too much. Now, i’m not judging her on that, like she was a debut so I see where she was coming from, I’m not holding it against her, she was a debut so I see where she was coming from. But that shattered my soul. You know? Great progress that didn’t happen.

  • I want more rep of other sexualities in YA

I legit asked everyone I knew on Twitter about recs for books with pansexual MCs, I asked myself, I had Jeanne ask, and have that retweeted about 9-10 times, and all I got was a handful of recommendations? The majority not even from the last decade? That’s maddening.

  • I would like to see more kickass females in normal stories

Why always the boyfriend, or longing for one? I just…that’s so fucking unrealistic to me, though. Teenage girls aren’t just waiting around for their crush or madly in love with someone. In reality, they may be more worried about keeping up with their hobbies, balancing their busy lives, and getting into a good college. I rarely see that, and it irritates me. I would like more kickass females that deadass do not have a love interest. They have well developed friends, besties, and hobbies and no love interest, at all.

  • I want more books that are like Fans of The Impossible Life. Books that are real, writing of high quality, and other aspects of diversity that seems to be ignored. Fans of The Impossible Life is a multi-diverse story, but it’s the only one. Where are all the others?

YA disappoints me for a variety of reasons. I could talk about that for a while. From adults who think stories of teens are too much, or something that they wouldn’t be able to market, or just wouldn’t sell; to so many stories that are missing in YA that shouldn’t be, to the voices that are constantly ignored or crushed down by the privileged when they try to speak up to the way that some adults treat teenagers nowadays. It seems like nowadays YA is crafted more for adults than teenagers, and it annoys me more than I can possibly articulate in one post. Overall, I’m sick of yearning for stories that should already exist in YA.

UPDATE: Here are some recs I took from #OWNvoices for some gaps that have been filled. Specifically, John Hansen (you can’t not know who that is at this point, if you don’t, how??? Allow me to fix this serious problem by telling me), and specifically relating to trans/non binary novels written by trans/non binary authors. ALL LINKS lead to Amazon which will have a synopsis. Please check them out. If you want a summary even shorter and quicker, here is the link to John’s thread of tweets aka my resource here.

A+E4ever by I. Merey

Lizard Radio by Pat Schmatz

The Unintentional Time Traveler

AND

First Spring Grass Fire by Rae Spoon.

What is something missing that you would like to exist? Do any of the things I want exist? If so, PLEASEEEEE leave your recs! I’m begging!

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9 thoughts on “The Saturday Oreo #6: Gaps In YA

  1. I want what you posted about! I also want to see more girl nerds. Like, staying up all night playing games or going to cons or sharing fanfic with thrir friends.

    And I want to see more books about friendship! All kinds. Romance is fun, but it’s not everything.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, definitely!!! I have a best friend that’s a gamer, and this would be totally awesome! And yes, definitely friendship because friendships are as important, if not more important, than romantic relationships. It’s like you meet someone cool, and they become like your sister or brother or sibling of some type, you know? That’s pretty deep, and deserves to be explored.

      Like

  2. I agree that there are SO many holes in YA lit. That’s so weird that Kristin from NOTA wasn’t a POC because the author was afraid publishing it would be too much. What I really want is an industry where an author does what he or she wants and doesn’t have to worry about making THEIR character “too much.” I still would’ve read and enjoyed the book!
    For contemporaries, I just want a book where the main character honestly has to study and worries about colleges. Contempt authors think dating or crushing over football players are all the rage but most of my friends are just worried about what our next semester grade is. 😛 now THAT would be realistic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it’s rather sad. EXACTLY! I would love to see a more realistic, more modern high school experience with studying and all that. My friendships, hobbies, and studying is what’s most important to me, and it’s pretty much the same with my friends who are really concerned with grades, not partying and making out. Not to shame any teen that is into those things, it’s just not as much of a priority now.

      Like

  3. So I think this is totally ridiculous because I do think that sometimes adults make judgements about teen life that are sooo inaccurate. I read this one post about how all teens have sex and that because of this, it’s inaccurate to not have a sex scene in any romantic YA. Um. No. In fact, statistics show that most teens aren’t engaging in sex. I don’t have anything against sex in YA but I don’t think it’s fair to make the assumption that most teens do.
    Okay I know that got off topic but I totally get what you mean by the YA market being more geared towards older readers. It’s definitely frustrating when minorities are underrepresented. You’d think that the book world would be more liberal in this century but it really isn’t. :/

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cait @ Paper Fury says:

    I agree there are gaps in YA. In ALL books probably…and in sexuality is a big one, but also in other things. Like I was writing a book about a deaf girl and I really reeeeally wanted to do my research thoroughly. So I started to read as many books about deaf MCs as I could. Could I find many??? NOPE. And they were readily available and easy to get either. THAT’s MADDENING TOO. Also Autism. I was researching and….I found a handful and most of them involved murder mysteries. Which is actually playing on stereotypes and is kinda awful, tbh. Just because your autistic, doesn’t mean you’re going to be involved in a murder!! And most of the books I read on deaf people had them with hearing aids and minimal sign language. GAH. Whyyyyy??! Same with mental illnesses too, I guess.

    Like, in a way, I GET this. These are minorities, right? So it’s logical if books try to appeal to a bigger audience, because they need to sell etc. etc.. But it’s sad that these kind of books are so hard to find. D: It is a gap in literature and I wish it wasn’t so gaping.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mamie @ LPANDA14 says:

    I loved the article, and I want all of the things you said in YA. I also would like to see more asexual characters, depression to be less romanticized, and just for adults to quit managing YA without understanding what teens really want and think about. Oh, and I’m writing a book with a PoC character who is blind; she’s the MC and is the leader of her people (it’s fantasy)

    Liked by 1 person

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