"Girls are as complex as boys, but so often, we let girls be placed into one of two categories, based entirely on our preferences: likable or unlikable. These aren’t critiques of story nor are they critiques of character. They are preferences. There’s nothing wrong with preferring a likable or unlikable character, but there is something wrong when that becomes the means through which we critique a story and thus the way that we then present those stories to readers — especially to girl readers who may identify as unlikable or as likable vis a vis those books.
When we critique books and discuss books through that un/likable dynamic, we deny complexity to not just the girls on the page, but we deny girls reading those books complexity, too. We make a judgment on the actions both in the fictional world and in the real world."
The library at my college is looking for books written by POC, specifically Hispanic and Latin@ authors. Most students are 18-21, and the library is willing to stock YA and adult titles, both fiction and nonfiction. So far I have books by Junot Díaz and Matthew de la Peña on the list. Does anyone have any other suggestions?
Last week I hit a nerve with my post about the New York Times YA Bestsellers list.
Pictures above is this week’s NYT Bestsellers List.
People still suggest women “dominate” YA fiction, but I beg to differ. They do better on the YA series list (which is a beast I have yet to look at) but again, it’s worth thinking about what it means when 9 of the 10 NYT Bestsellers are MALE, 4 out of 10 are one single MALE, 2 out of 10 are a close MALE friend of one of those MALES, and the female on the list was connected to the MALE in 4 out of those slots.
Why this worries me is not that it’s John Green. Instead, one reason why it worries me is that when a single TYPE of book dominates a list, then that TYPE of book is what continues to be put into the market. It’s reductive.
The funny thing about the YA list is the bestsellers are largely literary. The series books are something else, and while there are far more women on them than on the regular YA list, they are treated like a different animal—as a friend pointed out, these authors are like Hawthorne’s scribbling hordes. They are producing entertainment, but men are producing the “real” books. You can be a literary writer and be a bestseller in YA fiction—if you are a man.
What do you think about this, asks the female author of literary fiction.