Inspired by the twitter hashtag #YANeedsMore, I have decided to write a post on what I think there could be more of in YA literature.
Firstly, ditch the love triangles. A lot of books these days all seem to have a love triangle in both contemporary genres and fantasy/dystopian etc. I don’t have a problem with love triangles but come on! There is more to YA than someone stuck in the middle of 2 overbearing other characters. Maybe instead there could be more focus on issues that the protagonist feels strongly and speaks up about because again, in some YA fiction (especially contemporary) all some characters do is worry about what their crush thinks of them. We’re not all like that.
Secondly, I would like to see more traditionally ‘token’ characters e.g POC, plus-size characters & disabled characters etc. as protagonists as opposed to the sidekick and being positively represented. And if those characters were to engage in a romantic relationship without being fetishized that would be great too and being positively represented. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of amazing books like that, just not enough.
Thirdly, while I know YA has done a great job at tackling quite sensitive topics e.g. race, sexuality & mental illness, I would like to see more tough topics such as rape, sexual assault and domestic violence being dealt with (that affect both genders – anyone can be a victim) because there are young adults that have to deal with that and very few novels deal with it because they are quite sensitive topics (and I understand that) – I’m just spitballing here.
Fourthly, YA needs a more accurate representation of secondary/high school in general. All the books I read that are set in modern day high schools aren’t totally accurate when it comes to dealing with exams/stress/university applications etc. The characters just seem to waltz in, talk to their mates and then leave! I don’t know any teenager that does that now – we’ve got too much to think about.
Fifthly and finally (you’re probably all bored now) YA needs more focus on friendships. Most novels, like I said before, tend to only focus on the concept of ‘first love’ and the friends of the characters are just there to provide a bit of comic relief. I want to read about toxic friendships, female friendships, male friendships and male/female friendships & they don’t fall in love. Friendship is more important to most teens than relationships as they’re the first people that spend time with us because they want to – not because they have to.
I know there are plenty of amazing books out there that deal with these but, as I said earlier, there aren’t enough – and it needs to change. So if any aspiring authors are reading this, check out the Twitter thread. What do you think YA needs more of?