i aim my arrows high















Christa Desir: Consent and Sensitivity: “Good Sex” in YA Literature

Christa Desir:

I live in an unusual world where most of my conversations on a daily basis are either about good sex or bad sex. It is a strange thing being a rape victim activist/author of a book about sexual violence and also a romance editor. But to me, these things are compatible. They have an overlapping theme: how can we integrate intimacy, sexuality, and positive experiences into our culture so that both men and women feel empowered to make good choices with regards to sex.
So when the Sexual Violence in YA Lit Project team started talking, conversations naturally flowed from “how is sexual violence represented in young adult literature” into “how is positive sex or sexuality represented in YA”. Which began a conversation about what teens know, what they don’t know, and the importance of books in helping them see their own sexual agency in the best possible light. Whatever choice they want to make about it.
And we started a list of books that have positive representations of sex. Below is my list, but please go check out the lists of Karen Jensen, Carrie Mesrobian, and Trish Doller. (SPOILERS AHEAD)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: I wanted this book to be first on my list because I think it has an amazing scene of respect for the main character’s emotional landscape and inability to consent. Charlie pulls back from sex with Sam and is listened to and honored for his choice. Charlie is a sexual trauma survivor and he’s not ready to be in that place with Sam even though touch feels good. I was pretty much sobbing when Sam said, “It’s okay that you’re not ready” and then helped him get dressed. This. Yes. Perfect.
How to Love by Katie Cotugno: This is a beautifully written “consent” scene in which Sawyer asks “are you sure?” twice, and Reena is solid about her yes. But more than that is the part of this adorable scene where he promises to go slow. And in that promise you understand something important about these two, which is that not only do they both want to be there, but there is no “let’s get it over with” backdrop to this conversation. It’s a scene where it’s made clear they both want a positive experience from it.
  
Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma: I wanted to include this book because the author puts the reader in a uncomfortable place of witnessing the growing sexual attraction between a brother and a sister, understanding their shared trauma and how they got to that place, and drawing us into an incredibly intimate sex scene between the two of them that is equal parts horrifying and heartbreaking. It is incredibly difficult to write sex scenes that are not at all sexy but are still emotionally devastating. Suzuma does it beautifully.
If I Stay by Gayle Forman: So the “play me” scene where Adam teaches Mia how to be comfortable with him intimately by having her hands on him like she’d play the cello and then he plays her like he would the guitar, well, holy hell, it’s beautiful and sexy and perfect because it has this shared understanding of something they’re both passionate about (music) and how they can use it to get past the awkwardness of Mia’s first time. And it takes the reader through all the emotions of first time sex and awkwardness and honesty and yes, this scene is one of my favorites I’ve ever read.
The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry: This book has an absolutely beautiful scene with a one-armed guy back from combat having sex with his girlfriend for the first time and it’s so perfect and awkward and sexy. And it starts with him saying this, “The second you say pause, we pause or we stop”. And then he says, “I’ve never done this with one arm. I mean, I might need some help.” And then I just about died of cuteness and all the awesome sexiness in this scene. And gosh, Jolene does awkward in the best way and makes it way more awkward for him (who has had sex before) than for his girlfriend (who has not) because she is the instigator of the whole thing and he’s the one who keeps wanting to make sure that she’s sure because he likes her and doesn’t want to screw things up. PERFECTION.
And now, I’m going to add one more that was originally pubbed as a YA and has since been re-categorized as an NA. I want to include it because it involves gay characters and it also involves something that is important to include in the discussion: “good sex” that happens even though it is a bad idea for both characters. 
Hushed by Kelly York: I loved this book because it’s what I call the gay Dexter book. Serial killer, high stakes drama, a girl who has gone off the edge and the guy who has pretty much followed her there, and then in the midst of it all is this other guy named Evan. And I love the shower scene between Archer and Evan in this book because it comes amidst drama and all sorts of questions but it’s so natural for these two guys. And the way it’s written is sexy but also frantic and you are deep into Archer’s emotional landscape and you understand how much he is craving solace and you also in the back of your head understand that this is not a good idea for either of them, and I think there’s something really important about seeing good sex done for the wrong reasons. Because that happens too, and the raw honesty of it is really important to add to this conversation.
1 month ago with 136 notes
#ya lit #young adult #christa desir #rape culture #culture work #media responsibility #rape tw #trauma tw #incest tw



COMPLEX: Why Most Young Adult Movie Franchises Haven’t Taken Off Since “Twilight” and “Harry Potter”

complex:

If there’s one thing to take away from the failure of Hollywood’s adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s young adult fantasy novel The Mortal Instruments, it’s this: a hot young cast does not a hot franchise make. Attention, studios: There are other things besides the next Teen Bop heartthrob to hang on the wall that audiences look for in a young adult film. For instance, a gripping story, fresh aesthetics, and a credible cast and crew. 

To be fair, Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Harry Potter had a lot going for them. The idea of adapting a YA trilogy into film was just starting to become a trend, and they were the top of the crop. They were able to set the standard.

Despite the atrocious writing, Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Saga had a major following before the first film opened. After the well-received Twilight, published in 2005, the series’ subsequent installments each spent time in the top 10 of the New York Times Best Seller list. Chances are you knew a friend of a friend who’d read at least one of the books. Not to mention, the film was the first of its kind. It wasn’t until after Twilight, distributed by Summit Entertainment, that subsequent bloodsucking series debuted on television, namely True Blood and The Vampire Diaries, both small screen adaptations of popular novels.

The same goes for Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. It was a critically adored, NY Times Best Seller that placed in Publishers Weekly’s “Best Books of the Year” in 2008. Despite being billed as “the next Twilight,” it differed in its edgy post-apocalyptic plot, one about a lowly heroine who engages in an all-out battle royale, only to become the symbol of an impending revolution. Brought to life by Lionsgate, the film was some tough shit and a nice break from the vampired inundation.

As for J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, distributed by Warner Bros., it’s Harry fucking Potter. The franchise has its own amusement park now.

Before the film version of The Hunger Games even debuted in 2012, there was rumbling that audiences were sick of teen romances. Picking up a dystopian or supernatural YA series was already starting to feel contrived. 

Come 2013, without letting audiences come up for air after the The Hunger Games, three new series were rushed into theaters: Warner Bros.’ Beautiful Creatures, Open Roads’ The Host, and Screen Gems’ The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Despite the three novels being listed as New York Times' Best Sellers, with the premieres so close together, it felt like studios were serving up store-bought, canned kids movies solely to One Direction fans. Audiences and critics were put off by the fact that studios were desperately combing the shelves for best-sellers to milk this YA shit for all its worth. 

A major strength of the first three franchises is that the leads have become the new pop stars, the way boy bands and Britney Spears dominated the late ’90s. Tabloids, teens, and twentysomethings still can’t get enough of them. KStew and RPattz have become stars because of their awkward reluctance to stardom, and their always-fun-to-speculate-about romance. JLaw’s got her signature derpiness. And the Radcliffe/Grint/Watson trio is basically family to audiences who watched them grow up in the movies. 

Oh, and then there’s 20th Century Fox’s Percy Jackson adaptations, which dropped between Twilight and THG. Consider that 98 degrees. It has its audience. After all, it managed a sequel. But the world isn’t checking for it like that. Its strength lies in its Nick Lachey, Logan Lerman: low-key, but enduring and poised for steady career, if his performance in The Perks of Being A Wallflower is any indication.

With the top tier taken, the three franchises that would follow are essentially the C-list pop groups that would crop up in the wake of NSYNC. They’re O-Town, in all its manufactured glory, and everyone forgets about O-Town. 

That is to say, it’s a kiss of death to introduce a franchise without attempting to reinvent the genre. The Mortal Instruments, The Host, and Beautiful Creatures were essentially recycled garbage, made by an unimaginative handling of the preset formula: attractive cast + magic or post-apocalyptic world + romance. Their fatal blow being that they were hurried into theaters at a time when the world, and especially the target teen audience, was still too preoccupied by RPattz and KStew and all-Jennifer Lawrence-everything to care that The Mortal Instruments' Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower were dating.

What does this mean for the upcoming young adult series? Take Veronica Roth’s Divergent, from Twilight distributor Summit Entertainment—its weakness is that its plot isn’t easily described. Something about a society divided into factions for some reason and some girl being an exception to those factions. Whatever—it looks a lot like The Hunger Games. However, it’s led by Shailene Woodley, who gained a following from The Secret Life of the American Teenager and earned respect from top critics in her starmaking turn in the Oscar-nominated The Descendants. Not to mention, she just landed the coveted lead role in celebrity author John Green’s hit novel The Fault in Our Stars and endeared audiences in another coming-of-age flick, The Spectacular Now. People are checking for her.

Bolstering the project even more is that fact that Kate “Never let go, Jack” Winslet has co-signed the film with a supporting role that’s heavily publicized in the promo (which was smartly premiered at this year’s MTV VMA pre-show). If Winslet gets to play Winslet, and not some hokey version of herself the way that Beautiful Creatures squandered the talent of Jeremy Irons, Emma Thompson, and Viola Davis, then Divergent should be dynamite.

And it sounds like author Robert Ness’ Chaos Walking Trilogy (from the same studio releasing The Hunger Games), set in a post-apocalyptic world where all thought is audible, is shaping up to be the Citizen Kane of these YA films. With Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future and Flight, to name a few stunners) circling to direct, the first book, The Knife of Never Letting Go, has got Charlie Kaufman (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich) penning the script. The two carry the promise of delivering a coming-of-age series that isn’t riddled with cliche, cheeseball dialogue, a major problem cited by YA naysayers.

The franchise with the greatest uphill battle is author James Dasher’s dystopian thriller The Maze Runner, another flick with a cast of virtual unknowns and directed/scripted by virtual unknowns (Wes Ball and Noah Oppenheim, respectively), brought to you by 20th Century Fox in its second shot at YA glory. Teen Wolf's Dylan O'Brien and UK darling Kaya Scodelario, known for the teen drama Skins, lead the film, which follows a group literally attempting to find their way out of a maze. Its biggest Hollywood cred is Patricia Clarkson. While we haven’t see much of the film, save for the occassional still, it sounds like another vanilla attempt to cash in on the YA hype. Hopefully the trailer proves otherwise—partly because O’Brien and Scodelario are true talents that deserve their big break—perhaps with a heavier, more mysterious aesthetic than the failures of 2013. That is, all we really ask is that the next young adult franchise not feel like an ABC Family movie.

7 months ago with 77 notes
#ya lit #young adult #young adult lit #ya #complex #what a revolutionary idea - treating ya books and audiences like they can tell when something is quality #who'd ever have considered before that people who read ya can tell when they're being condescended to?! #whaaaaat?? #although i feel like calling it the 1D audience is mistaken because dude there is NO crossover it's weird #i rarely see *core* 1D fans particularly caring about YA/adaptations and that makes me sad #but the boy band metaphor in here is brill #everyone DOES forget o-town #o-town were the worst



So about the so-called lack of boy stuff in YA

yaflash:

So I have a lot of feelings every single time I hear that people are “angry” or “annoyed” or whatever that they can’t find ONE SINGLE YA BOOK IN THE ENTIRE YA SECTION FOR BOYS TO READ and YOUNG MEN ARE FAILING BECAUSE GIRLS ARE TAKING OVER LITERATURE and HOW CAN BOYS POSSIBLY BE EXPECTED TO WANT TO TOUCH WHINY GIRLY CRAP WITH A TEN FOOT POLE?????

I have a few thoughts.

1) If you cannot find at least a handful of books in the YA section that might appeal to a teenage boy, you aren’t looking very hard. Maybe peruse this list of 140 titles that would appeal to teenage boys. Also, that list is from last year and similar books are being released every month.

2) LOLOLOLOLOL okay yeah young boys have absolutely nothing to read, you’re right. It’s not like you can walk into any library or bookstore and find that the majority of the books in it are about white men.

3) I resent the implication that a book with a female protagonist OR romantic element, no matter how slight, is a “girl book” unless it’s by some guy who gets really upset when anyone calls him a romance author because HIS BOOKS ARE NOT ROMANCES THEY ARE ~SERIOUS LITERATURE~ because the two are mutually exclusive. I also resent that we continue to encourage our boys to distance themselves vehemently and often violently from anything that could be considered even slightly non-masculine.

There is this thing people say: “My son/brother/I had nothing in the YA section to read! They/I had to go STRAIGHT FROM KID’S BOOKS TO LORD OF THE RINGS/WHEEL OF TIME/ENDER’S GAME/CATCHER IN THE RYE/ETC.!”

Wow. I mean, do you understand what a tragedy it is that these poor boys don’t even get to stop in the YA section and they are forced to go immediately to the thousands and thousands and thousands of fantasy and science fiction and ~real literature~ books that are about young white men coming of age and having adventures? Greatest tragedy of our generation, honestly.

I mean doesn’t anyone find it a little… odd? That the fantasy and sci-fi shelves are bursting with young 16-25 year old men who are doing lots of different things (including kissing/sexing ladies OH MY GOD ROMANCE???!!!!?!?!!?), and then the YA section is hanging out over here with lots of stories with VERY SIMILAR CONTENT (Kristin Cashore! Tamora Pierce! Beth Revis!), but everyone looks at those books and goes “Ugh, girl books, there’s no possible way a young man or even a smart girl could be into those?”

TAMORA PIERCE LITERALLY WRITES ABOUT KNIGHTS AND MAGIC AND FANTASY CREATURES AND WAR AND SASSY ANIMAL SIDEKICKS. She just writes about them from a *girl’s* perspective. Which means boys are physically incapable of reading it, I guess?

I just can’t wrap my brain around the fact that people do not get the irony in what they’re saying. They don’t even realize as the words are rolling off their tongue that YA is so female-centric because coming-of-age stories for young men have already been staples in the “real books” section for decades. Because being a young straight white man is universal, see, while being a girl is something that’s impossible to care about unless you’re both a girl and stupid. (COOL GIRLS read the boy stuff, duh!)

And even then, even then, there’s still plenty of boy-centric YA, too. Because there is no boy-free space, you guys. That’s the thing about privilege — you’re so used to being allowed in every space and have everyone accept you as the default that when you can’t immediately find something that’s obviously “for you,” you claim that it’s excluding you and that you must be included. You don’t even see that you can literally sidestep into another area that is catered exactly to you.

Honestly, to a point, this is not even the fault of young men. It is the fault of a society that continues to tell them that they’re the most important of all. Boys don’t start out believing that they can’t relate to girls, or that romance is sappy and beneath them. They’re not born with the idea that sex is a game or they’re “naturally” better at certain things. We feed them that. And we continue to feed it to them every time we huff about there being no “boy stuff” in YA, which is a flat-out, complete and total lie.

Of course, at a certain point they can reason on their own, and then it’s on them whether they’re willing to learn some empathy, just as it’s on any other privileged class.

There is so much more to this, like the fact that patriarchy often drips from those so-called “girl books,” even though they’re “for girls.” That publishers literally can’t afford to be idealists and they have to take society and money into consideration, and how much that sucks.

I have said this before, and I doubt I’ll stop saying it: if young men aren’t reading, it is not because of women and their stupid girl books. There are other elements at work here, because there has never and will never be a “lack” of books written by dudes for dudes. Please try again.

In the meantime, I might segue into the way we pish-posh “romance” and sex if it’s written by women, but that’s another post.

7 months ago with 2434 notes — via yaflash
#ya lit #young adult #young adult lit #ya



itswheremydemonshide21:

Can every book shop have one of these please?

itswheremydemonshide21:

Can every book shop have one of these please?

7 months ago with 46009 notes — via percyjacksons, © cityofdivergentdhampirs
#ya lit #young adult #young adult lit #ya



phirephoenix:yaflash:how-could-i-ever-nope:

According to the professor of my young adult fiction writing class, John Green is the revolutionary who brought back the young adult novel and made reading and writing cool again.

Bravo, dear Mr. Green, and thank you for making it possible for me to read, study, and enjoy your work as a class requirement.

:D

Okay, this actually makes me pretty upset?

(That is not your fault, how-could-i-ever-hope, so this is not directed at you!)

But YA writing has been “revolutionary” and integral to many young people’s lives for years and years and years. Tamora Pierce wrote her first series in the eighties and it is still highly influential and beloved today. Laurie Halse Anderson’s beautiful and powerful novel Speak was published in 1999. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff was published in 2004 and won a landslide of awards. Walter Dean Meyers, Carolyn Mackler, Angela Johnson, Madeline L’Engle, Judy Blume, Christopher Pike, Margo Lanagan, Lois Lowry, MT Anderson, Markus Zusak, and many more were already publishing amazing, influential, much-beloved YA books in the early 2000’s and before.

Looking For Alaska, John Green’s first novel, was published in 2005 — the same year the first Twilight book was published. LfA won the 2006 Printz and started quietly making waves, as literary novels often do, but didn’t really “break out” until much later after he’d gained a following. It became an enormous following, do not get me wrong, but there’s a timeline here.

Say what you will about Stephenie Meyer and the Twilight series, but the boom in YA? The point around 2005 where it EXPLODED and started pumping out book after book? It was because of that series. Whatever your feelings about it are, it blew open the doors for publishers to take bigger risks and try different things in YA. It proved a YA series could, in fact, be “the next Harry Potter.” (Fun Fact: Meyer and Green have the exact same literary agent!)

So to see that someone who knows literature, someone like a collegiate literature/writing professor, is saying that John Green is THE revolutionary who “brought back” the young adult novel? Oh my god that makes me so upset. It discounts all the hard-working and incredible authors who have been writing YA before it was a moneymaker, before it made you “cool.” Of which John Green is a part, to be fair, since his first novel came right before the boom and he is a literary writer, which is not the most lucrative of book markets, typically.

Caveat: this is not a “let’s crap on John Green post,” because that’s not how I feel and not how I roll. I do not want to discount that John Green IS influential and he (and his work) DOES resonate very strongly with A LOT of young people. This is not me trying to say that he’s not an important piece in this puzzle, because he is.

But do you see my problem here? Do you see why I get so PISSED OFF when people scoff and handwave and shit all over YA, but then they go, “Oh, but John Green! He’s the Savior Of YA! Without him, it would all be pointless drivel or it NEVER would have been cool to read and write again!”?

It’s discounting a class of novels (those written for young people) that is HUGELY HUGELY HUGELY influenced and written by ladies and minority writers who can touch the hearts of young people. It completely discounts the pop culture powerhouse and influence of the Twilight series, whether or not you think it’s “great literature.” Which I personally do not, but my opinion of its literary merit does not affect the fact that it was HIGHLY INFLUENTIAL. If you’re going to give a single person all the credit for “bringing back” YA and making it “cool” (which is a flawed premise to begin with, but whatever), it should probably go to Ms. Meyer, if we’re honest.

Just… WHARRGARBL. STOP HOLDING UP JOHN GREEN AS THE ONLY YA AUTHOR WHO MADE A DIFFERENCE, WHO WRITES POWERFUL BOOKS, WHO GAVE READING BACK TO KIDS. STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT. You can love and admire someone without attributing that kind of power to them, especially when it’s at the expense of other incredibly talented individuals. Many of whom happen to be not white guys.

Wow that got intense.

ALL OF THIS. 

And can we talk about how conveniently, the supposed savior of YA is a guy? Can we talk about how the three best-selling YA series in the past few decades—Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games—were all written by women, but John Green is the one that saved the genre? Can we talk about how incredibly culturally influential Harry Potter has been, how many young kids only got into reading because they wanted to read Harry Potter, how fan culture around Harry Potter has spurred on a new generation of writers, and yet John Green is the revolutionary?

Can we talk about how the only reason people freak-the-fuck-out about YA being “dominated” by female authors writing for girls is because traditionally, “YA for boys” was just called “literature”? Can we talk about how Tamora Pierce and JK Rowling are YA but Patrick Rothfuss and Lev Grossman are Serious Fantasy? 

Can we talk about how this is not just a YA issue? How the incisive cultural commentary of Jane Austen is even now dismissed as vapid chick lit with male students barely deigning to force themselves through it for an English credit, but Tolstoy and Flaubert and Ibsen, who also wrote about romance and social constraints placed on women and unrequited love and the treachery of upper class society, are revered? 

Can we talk about how stories of boys becoming men are called Bildungsromans and make their way to syllabi around the continent, but stories of girls becoming women are called shallow and insubstantial? How Nora Roberts has to write her wildly popular In Death series under a male-sounding pseudonym while John Grishom and Dan Brown pump out book after book after book that are literally just the same plot with different character names to great acclaim?

Can we talk about how, of all the romance that exists on the market, Nicholas Sparks’ formulaic saccharine “dude with a boat and a puppy” drivel is the stuff that gets adapted into movies year after year after year? 

It doesn’t surprise me that the prof would laud Green over all the writers who came before him who paved the way. Literature writers, by and large, skew male. And they tend to write about books written by men, and tend to interview those male authors. If all you know about YA is the stuff you got in mainstream reporting in the last few years, of course you would think that nothing worthwhile in YA existed before Green. 

But if I were in that class, and the prof exhibited so little critical thinking about the state of the industry and its social politics and understanding of literary history, I would definitely think thrice before taking that professor’s word on anything else. 

7 months ago with 7908 notes — via phirephoenix, © how-could-i-ever-nope
#A+ additional commentary again! #so reblogging again for more commentary! #because this BOTHERS ME ALL THE TIME #ya lit #young adult #young adult lit #ya #media awareness #text



yaflash:how-could-i-ever-nope:

According to the professor of my young adult fiction writing class, John Green is the revolutionary who brought back the young adult novel and made reading and writing cool again.

Bravo, dear Mr. Green, and thank you for making it possible for me to read, study, and enjoy your work as a class requirement.

:D

Okay, this actually makes me pretty upset?

(That is not your fault, how-could-i-ever-hope, so this is not directed at you!)

But YA writing has been “revolutionary” and integral to many young people’s lives for years and years and years. Tamora Pierce wrote her first series in the eighties and it is still highly influential and beloved today. Laurie Halse Anderson’s beautiful and powerful novel Speak was published in 1999. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff was published in 2004 and won a landslide of awards. Walter Dean Meyers, Carolyn Mackler, Angela Johnson, Madeline L’Engle, Judy Blume, Christopher Pike, Margo Lanagan, Lois Lowry, MT Anderson, Markus Zusak, and many more were already publishing amazing, influential, much-beloved YA books in the early 2000’s and before.

Looking For Alaska, John Green’s first novel, was published in 2005 — the same year the first Twilight book was published. LfA won the 2006 Printz and started quietly making waves, as literary novels often do, but didn’t really “break out” until much later after he’d gained a following. It became an enormous following, do not get me wrong, but there’s a timeline here.

Say what you will about Stephenie Meyer and the Twilight series, but the boom in YA? The point around 2005 where it EXPLODED and started pumping out book after book? It was because of that series. Whatever your feelings about it are, it blew open the doors for publishers to take bigger risks and try different things in YA. It proved a YA series could, in fact, be “the next Harry Potter.” (Fun Fact: Meyer and Green have the exact same literary agent!)

So to see that someone who knows literature, someone like a collegiate literature/writing professor, is saying that John Green is THE revolutionary who “brought back” the young adult novel? Oh my god that makes me so upset. It discounts all the hard-working and incredible authors who have been writing YA before it was a moneymaker, before it made you “cool.” Of which John Green is a part, to be fair, since his first novel came right before the boom and he is a literary writer, which is not the most lucrative of book markets, typically.

Caveat: this is not a “let’s crap on John Green post,” because that’s not how I feel and not how I roll. I do not want to discount that John Green IS influential and he (and his work) DOES resonate very strongly with A LOT of young people. This is not me trying to say that he’s not an important piece in this puzzle, because he is.

But do you see my problem here? Do you see why I get so PISSED OFF when people scoff and handwave and shit all over YA, but then they go, “Oh, but John Green! He’s the Savior Of YA! Without him, it would all be pointless drivel or it NEVER would have been cool to read and write again!”?

It’s discounting a class of novels (those written for young people) that is HUGELY HUGELY HUGELY influenced and written by ladies and minority writers who can touch the hearts of young people. It completely discounts the pop culture powerhouse and influence of the Twilight series, whether or not you think it’s “great literature.” Which I personally do not, but my opinion of its literary merit does not affect the fact that it was HIGHLY INFLUENTIAL. If you’re going to give a single person all the credit for “bringing back” YA and making it “cool” (which is a flawed premise to begin with, but whatever), it should probably go to Ms. Meyer, if we’re honest.

Just… WHARRGARBL. STOP HOLDING UP JOHN GREEN AS THE ONLY YA AUTHOR WHO MADE A DIFFERENCE, WHO WRITES POWERFUL BOOKS, WHO GAVE READING BACK TO KIDS. STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT. You can love and admire someone without attributing that kind of power to them, especially when it’s at the expense of other incredibly talented individuals. Many of whom happen to be not white guys.

Wow that got intense.

7 months ago with 7908 notes — via yaflash, © how-could-i-ever-nope
#can we guess the professor is guy? or previously focused on literary fiction? or both? #ya lit #young adult #young adult lit #ya #media awareness #text



"I see now that dismissing YA books because you’re not a young adult is a little bit like refusing to watch thrillers on the grounds that you’re not a policeman or a dangerous criminal, and as a consequence, I’ve discovered a previously ignored room at the back of the bookstore that’s filled with masterpieces I’ve never heard of."
— Nick Hornby, quoted in this excellent article Young Adult Literature Is Better Than You Think (via 3rdfloorgirl)
7 months ago with 10364 notes — via knitgrimshaw, © hapfairy
#ya lit #young adult #ya #young adult lit #yes good #culture work



"Children don’t read ‘genres’; they read stories. Below a certain age, they don’t distinguish between ‘true’ and ‘not true,’ because they see no reason that a white rabbit shouldn’t possess a pocket watch, that whales shouldn’t talk, or that sentient beings shouldn’t live on other planets and travel in spaceships. Science-fiction tropes aren’t read as ‘science fiction’; they’re read as fiction. And fiction is read as reality. And sometimes reality lives under the bed and has very large teeth, and it’s no use pretending otherwise."
— Margaret Atwood, The New Yorker, June 4 & 11, 2012 (via electronicsquid)
8 months ago with 9224 notes — via libraryphiliac, © electronicsquid
#books #ya lit #young adult #children's lit #mg lit #middle grade #literature



mikroblogolas:nickcarragay:

petition to make young adult authors stop writing about girls whose lives change when they meet a boy

plus a petition to YA publishers to stop making covers with headless close-ups of teen girls’ torsos

(Or dead girls, especially when there are no dead girls in the story whatsoever.)

(Also petition to make ALL AUTHORS REGARDLESS OF GENRE stop glorifying abusive teenage relationships under the guise of “bad boys” or “youth.”)

8 months ago with 555108 notes — via rurone, © nickcarragay
#ya lit #young adult #media responsibility



jtoday:

People complain about ya lit having a lot of subpar quality books but have you seen the adult bookshelves? HAVE YOU SEEN THEM? sure there are like 10 literary fiction award-winning stellar masterpieces but for every one of them there are about 10,000 crappy cookie cutter genre fiction wastes of time. There are subpar books in every age category. This isn’t a ya lit problem, it’s an overall book problem. Stop acting like reading adult lit makes you superior. 

8 months ago with 512 notes — via callistana, © jtoday
#books #ya lit #young adult



facilisdescensus:

So I saw this on my newsfeed a few days ago and it clearly annoyed me enough at the time for me to want to screenshot it, but I forgot about it until just now as I was freaking out with excitement over the Mortal Instruments: City of Bones featurette that was put up on iTunes earlier today. I mean I am pretty sure I am preaching to the choir here as far as both my followers and my dash go, but sweet lord, why do people feel the need to rag on other people for stuff they like? Especially when “other people” are usually teenage girls and “stuff they like” is stuff geared towards teenage girls. I don’t see anyone talking about the garbage that teenage boys are(n’t) reading.

I mean, you know what? I am definitely of the camp that if something motivates kids to read, it’s good for them. Yeah, I sure wish it wasn’t Twilight that did the trick, but beggars can’t be choosers. And you know what else? Not every YA novel is Twilight. Not even every paranormal Ya novel is Twilight! For every one shittily written series with a terrible role model for a protagonist, in my experience, there are at least twice as many really great series where, sure, the girl might be slashing up some monsters or something, but she also isn’t taking any shit from her love interest and she is actually growing as a person. I’m 24 years old and (aside from, you know, still reading YA novels) sometimes I wish I had the balls to do stuff like Clary in the Mortal Instruments does.

So no, I’m sorry, but never ever in my book is “teaching girls to both believe in themselves and trust in other people and to use that personal growth to overcome obstacles and therefore become a valuable member of society” going to equate to “going wrong,” even if it’s peppered with a little magic or werewolf pals or demon slaying. And just once, first commenter on the original post, do I wish that people would take the time to actually learn about the stuff they are critiquing so publicly. If you think that kind of attitude is going to get kids to read something else, something you arbitrarily deem “worthwhile” or “respectable,” then clearly you forget what being a teenager is like ‘cause that shit’s just going to embarrass them so fully they’ll just go back to watching TV.

9 months ago with 223 notes — via memingers, © kimtaehyungah
#young adult #ya lit #ya #young adult lit #media awareness



greenconverses:

Every time I read a summary of an upcoming, somewhat decent looking YA novel, all good feelings are immediately dashed by the, “HOW WILL MARY SUE CHOSE BETWEEN HER FEELINGS FOR HER TWO GARY STUS?!!” clincher at the end.

Badly written, obvious love triangles are the wooooorst. As a reader, I get much more satisfaction out of a will-they-won’t-they relationship between two stubborn characters who can’t/won’t admit their feelings than a triangle when you know the MC is going to pick the asshole 50 pages in and the other one is going to get a bus dropped on him or something.

9 months ago with 45 notes — via greenconverses
#young adult #ya lit #ya #young adult lit #culture work #i feel like i'd be ok with a love triangle if it actually furthered the plot or character development #like 'will she choose gary stu or mary elizabeth awesome' because at least that lends to #like #the protagonist having an inner life and questions re: something other than just ~love? #maybe? #it'd depend on how it was executed really #but yeah no love triangles are consistently the worst #AND they are the LEAST RELATABLE THING??? #NO ONE EVER ACTUALLY HAS A LOVE TRIANGLE #WHERE /ANYONE/ WINS



asheathes:

Oh my god can we stop with the books that have

  • the sexy bad boy male protagonist who is the prize in every girl’s eyes
  • the female protagonist who just happens to be the only girl who is not interested in said male protagonist
  • said female protagonist who moved to a new school to escape her troubled past
9 months ago with 376 notes — via asheathes
#young adult #young adult lit #ya #ya lit #media responsibility



9 months ago with 9 notes
#books #movies #ya lit #young adult #young adult lit #ya



Love Triangles are (Typically) Extremely Possessive and Heteronormative

jtoday:

This article about love triangles in YA not being so bad has been going around tumblr, and for the most part I agree with it - people often hate love triangles for the wrong reasons. But I really want to talk about #3 on her list of reasons:

Young women often don’t get much choice in love, sex, and relationships. We’re fed a constant narrative of “wait for your One True Love to find you” and “be a sexual gatekeeper” and “heterosexual monogamy within these strictly defined terms or else SLUT SLUT SLUT.” There’s still an element of possession with many young men (and older men, really). Hell, a guy doesn’t even have to be dating a girl to lay claim to her — friendzoning, anyone? So, is it any wonder that young women find enjoyment in living in a world where they get to choose? Where they can be attracted to more than one guy and it’s okay?

My issue with love triangles in most YA is that they portray a situation that is EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of what this author is saying.

In many of them, there’s a strong emphasis by one (or both) of the guys that she BELONGS TO HIM and that she is not allowed to be touched or looked at or talked to by any other males. The entire relationship is dictated by the male love interests’ jealousyIt’s not that her choice is respected and she is allowed to explore her attraction for another guy (although that does happen - see Jeri Smith-Ready’s Shade series, and Ally Condie’s Matched series) but that she is attracted to one guy, and then (sometimes BEFORE THEY EVEN HAVE A TALK ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP) she appears interested in another guy, and the first guy completely loses his shit, being “protective” (aka possessive) and harassing the other guy while pushing himself into her line of sight over and over so she’ll “choose him” (Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, Everneath by Ashton Brodi). Sometimes the “love triangle” happens between a guy she’s into, and a guy she has NO FEELINGS for, but her boyfriend is jealous and possessive and gives her hell about it even though there’s nothing going on (Marie Lu’s Legend series, Kiersten White’s Paranormalcy series, hints of it in Veronica Rossi’s Under the Never Sky series, and sort of in Kelley Armstrong’s Darkness Rising series).

OR, instead of expressing his jealousy through testosterone and ownership, love interest A will basically ridicule the girl he supposedly loves for ever thinking love interest B is a good idea - “What do you even see in that guy? Can’t you see he’s just a giant asshole? What are you blind? He does x, y, and z, and he would never love you like I love you. I thought you had better judgment than that. When did you get so stupid? I thought you were the kind of girl who wasn’t into x, y, and z, but into all the amazing things that I am because I am the best thing that’s ever happened to you.” There’s this implication that the female protagonist IS NOT CAPABLE of making a good decision, that she can’t choose for herself which man to be with and needs to be shown the way (often by a guy, or by their parents, who will approve of one male and not the other). Which is almost just as bad, especially because many authors have the guy be right, and their protagonist eventually agrees - “Oh yeah! I have no brain of my own and am the worst judge of character ever. I guess you’re right and you’re perfect and I should be with you!” (Tera Lynn Child’s Forgive My Fins, Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone, Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl)

The bigger issue isn’t that these (asshole) guys are doing this, but that the author usually portrays the situation as romantic and thrilling for the female protagonist. That it’s HOT that the guy is about to physically assault someone she cares about because he wants her to be his and only his. 

Love triangles that force the protagonist to “choose” are extremely heteronormative, and EXTREMELY monogamy-centric. OWNERSHIP is such a big part of the relationship and JEALOUSY is portrayed as romantic and desirable. This article makes it out like these female protagonists are hanging out at a man buffet, tasting each dish before deciding which one they want. But it’s not like that. She doesn’t “get to choose” she is FORCED to choose. It’s not that these protagonists “can be attracted to more than one guy and it’s okay but that they are attracted to more than one guy and everyone in the book crams it down their throat that it is ABSOLUTELY NOT OKAY until she chooses one and lives monogamously ever after. 

TL; DR - Love triangles in YA are often ALL ABOUT OWNERSHIP and forcing female protagonists to choose monogamy when they were not naturally inclined towards one single love interest. 

10 months ago with 1377 notes — via jtoday
#ya lit #ya #young adult lit #young adult #media responsibility #media awareness #i was actually just thinking this today when reading prodigy #like #no if you assassinate the other person in the love triangle that does not make you right??? #i have no real stake in the monogamy versus poly issue here because honestly until the self-actualization and misogyny issues are addressed #both will be equally problematic #and both will be equally stigmatized on behalf of the female protag #and you can also casually date? like it doesn't have to be monogamy OR polyamory it can just be being independent...? #for fuck's sake the characters are 16 whoever they end up with in the book is not who they end up with for life anyway #as much as shipping makes it fun to pretend that sometimes #that's part of why the mockingjay epilogue is such a suckfest #there is nothing inherently wrong with monogamy #there is nothing inherently wrong with polyamory #there is nothing inherently wrong with choosing no one #there is something very inherently wrong with reinforcing a genre where the protagonist has to take a lover at all #for her story to have validity in the end #she can save a country #she can start a rebellion #she can find salvation for herself and her family #she can be a heroine #but god forbid she choose to be alone #THAT is the issue with love triangles #it's not that she must pick ONE #it's that she must pick ANYONE #text