If any of you were on Twitter a few days ago you were probably annoyed at me for tweeting so many things under the YANeedsMore hashtag. I apologize for that but it got me so excited about the chance to share my thoughts on what my favourite genre needs more of. I don’t expect it to change anything because hashtags rarely do but it was nice to get things out there. Some of my suggestions for #YANeedsMore were:
- Main characters who try, fail and then learn from their mistakes. Just like real teenagers do!
- Main characters who struggle with mental illness as teens: clinical depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, OCD, etc.
- Characters with parents who care when their teenager suddenly starts behaving completely differently!
- Characters who live in poverty and struggle with it daily. Not everyone lives in the suburbs.
- Teen characters with chronic illnesses. Yes, even teenagers can be sick! And sometimes it isn’t always obvious.
- Female protagonists who are okay with not currently being in a relationship. Seriously, not everyone wants to date constantly.
- Disabled characters as main characters, not as cheesy inspiration for the able-bodied protagonist.
- Clumsy non-athletes who don’t become butt-kicking machines after only a few weeks of training. Not realistic!
Those are just the highlights of my time on that particular hashtag but there were so many other tweets highlighting the need for actual racial diversity, interracial relationships, LGBT representation and so much more.
Now, this is absolutely not to say that books with these characteristics don’t exist because they do. And that’s awesome! But it would be nice to see a few more with some of these traits, to see them in the mainstream. I love that so many indie authors are working on bringing some of these books to life but I would really love to see big publishers with the guts to publish YA books like that.
So what I want to know now is this: What do you think YA as a genre needs more of?