A discussion with P.E. and Mari.
YA is awesome. But it can get even more awesome. I was inspired for this post by this tweet that was asking for a YA romance set in the Olympics. I don't really need the romance part (but I wouldn't mind) and this got me thinking about all the types of stories that aren't found in YA. So, I'll start with saying there aren't enough stories about athletes, especially professional athletes. You get drafted in the NHL at 17/18. There's a 15 year old Russian skater killing it at the Olympics. Teens are a huge part of the Olympics and sports, and I know that it's a stereotype that bookish people don't care about sports because I know we're both fans. So, I would love to read a YA about that. What do you think?
Google and I have a long standing relationship and it knows how much I wish there was more to YA with my relentless searches: "YA book that features sports", "YA book set in Korea", "BOOK IN THE OLYMPICS"!!! I completely disagree with stereotyping in general. Bookish people aren't a type of people, they are a diverse community of people spread over different ages, countries and languages. We don't all read the same books, we definitely don't all like the same books, so who says that we all don't like the same things as well; especially sports. Hating sports is a lot like hating music; it's something that is supposed to be fun. I don't play sports because I suck at them but I sure would love to read about them and act like I don't suck.
Well, we all know about my illustrious career as a defence in touch football. Or how about the one time in fifth grade where my coach said I was the most improved player after I did like six straight volleyball serves that managed to GET OVER THE NET. I'm a rockstar.
Okay, I get your point. You also touched on some other thing I wanted to mention: diversity. Everyone agrees on the need for more diversity. I personally want diversity in books, but not books about diversity. Well, I'm not saying those shouldn't exist either, but I personally am not interested in social issue books. I'd love if there was diversity in a book, but it was completely natural. Like, I think R.J. Anderson had a Korean character in Quicksilver and it was awesome. I want diverse characters in paranormals where their diversity is not their defining character point, but just another part of them. YA is pretty white-washed as it is, and ideally, I think YA needs more of a variety of characters from different cultures.
It's great that we both agree on that. Team diversity over here. Something else that I've been thinking about a lot lately is the awesome literature other counties have that we don't necessarily know about. I mean english can't be the only language with great books. Les Miserables and Le Petit Prince are French, Anna Karenina is Russian. Those can't be the only jewels of their language, there must be more and so I would love if we could read books written by a foreign author just as easily as we can watch a movie by one.
I absolutely agree. The Ruby Red series was by a German author, if I'm not mistaken, and I think that's something I would love to see- books FROM other cultures. Stories resonate with people, and I am so open to reading a YA book written for, say, Indian teens. Some of the stuff Western culture takes for granted would be discovered, and it would be awesome. Right now, it seems like so many Western books are being published in other languages and I would like to see the same happen. This can only help my book selection, because then I can have books from all the YA authors on Earth! (I am way too excited about that!)
Haha, same here. It would be fantastic imagine the variety we can find. One for every mood and mindset.
You know what else YA desperately needs? Canada. No, seriously. In dystopias, it's usually some enormous government running North America, and the government seems to be emulating American styles (with Presidents and no French) so I've always wondered what happened to us. I know Canada would not want to merge with the US, so maybe this is weird, but I always feel like the history of these dystopias is lacking.
History and politics as well. As far as I know Canada and the US are tight allies so one turning on the other is hard to imagine, at least in my mind. I think more Canada and more accurate history/politics wouldn't hurt. Come to think of it, I was roaming Chapters a few hours ago (because that's what I do on my Sundays) especially the adult section and I was thinking about how much more detailed adult literature is. I wouldn't mind some of that leaking over to YA!