DISCLAIMER: I know for a fact that I’m not the first person to come up with this idea, so I wouldn’t dare claim to be. I was inspired by the recent #RBWL (Reader/Blogger Wishlist) tag on Twitter (created by the wonderful Shae McDaniel, who you can and should follow on Twitter here and who I did an absolute injustice by not linking to in the previous one of these).
I spent a great deal of time contributing to the discussion and it was brilliant. There are so many creative people on Twitter who are part of the book community and they all had so many good ideas that I felt honored just to be able to contribute to such a lively, diverse discussion. The ideas that I put forth here are ones that I came up with and am expanding upon on my blog. I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes, I just wanted to talk about the types of books I want to see and I need more than 140 characters to do so.
As I said in the first one of these, I know that some of these books already exist in some way, shape or form and if you have more ideas and recommendations, feel free to leave them in the comments. I am always looking for new books to read.
- Girls doing kickass things and being girly at the same time – Something I’ve noticed in YA is this incredibly worn-out stereotype that girls who are interested in girly things are clones who can’t think for themselves and can only be fit into one mold–the mean girl whose life goal is to destroy the main character who is never like other girls and almost always is a tomboy who would never be into things like cheerleading or make-up or whatever. Here’s the thing about that…I know so many badass girls who use make-up and who are/were cheerleaders or ballerinas. I am so done with the idea that girls who like traditionally girly things aren’t as good as girls that don’t. It’s so damaging and it’s absolutely ridiculous because, as I’m sure most people know, people are 3-dimensional and complex. One of my favorite female characters in anything is Juliet Starling from Lollipop Chainsaw (fun fact: James Gunn who directs Guardians of the Galaxy made the game and I love him for it). She is a chainsaw wielding, zombie hunting cheerleader and she kicks ass while being interested in cheerleading, her boyfriend, etc. That makes her interesting. That makes her complex. Let me have a skateboarder who does ballet or a baseball player who likes to knit and doesn’t feel bad about it. Stop making girls feel bad for being girly! That is literally the opposite of feminism and evil cheerleaders honestly have started to bore me.
2. More stories where teenagers date – I know that a lot of people are going to fight me on this but here’s my thing, marrying your high school sweetheart isn’t as common as it once was because people aren’t limited to a dating pool of people in their general area. The first guy you have a crush on, the first guy you are in love with as a teenager probably isn’t going to be the one. So why is it that YA so often perpetuates the idea the first person we love is the only one we’ll ever love? I mean, this happens a lot in fantasy but fantasy seems stuck in the ideas of arranged marriages and getting married at sixteen because they seem more based on a medieval, archaic sort of way of understanding marriage. Contemporary YA shouldn’t feel the need to have a protagonist stick to one guy for her whole life and plan going to college around him and their whole life together. Most people I know who did that ended up breaking up as soon as they got to college. People change. I am an entirely different person than I was in high school and it’s only been 4 years. Being a teenager is a time to explore your options and figure out what you like. I want to see more stories where a girl is able to do that without being shamed for it because, honestly, at this point in time, that’s more normal than sticking with the same person from high school until the rest of your life.
More stories where the protagonist is fine being single – I learned a lot about what teen life was supposed to be like from movies, TV shows and mostly, from books. You know what is weirdly not present in YA novels? Books where the protagonist is happy on her own. I spent a lot of my life thinking that I was incomplete without a relationship because I had no real role model on that front. Even when saving the world, every single heroine had a love interest. Hell, even strong and independent Hermione isn’t complete on her own, which is irritating. Almost every YA heroine needs a love interest and rarely, at the end, are they without one. I get having a love interest but I’d really like to see a protagonist who is single at the end and is fine with it. It is so, so important that books show that being single is fine because otherwise you never learn it and you end up with a weird idea that you have to be in a relationship to be happy when that’s not entirely true. I know that this isn’t exactly a revolutionary viewpoint, but I’d like to see more stories where the protagonist starts the story single and doesn’t get a love interest or has a love interest and then loses them but is totally fine with it.
Comic-con Romance – You know what’d be the best place to find someone to date? Comic-con. I know that there’s already a book like this but here me out because this idea is very, very specific. I figured after the first three, you’d want something goofy. So, for this one, I propose a sort of missed connection type thing where a girl meets a charming guy at Comic-Con, only to find out that he’s dressed as Deadpool. The problem with this is that literally every guy at Comic-Con is Deadpool. She is dressed as Harley Quinn, which also limits his chances of finding her. I’d like to think that they either never find each other or they go through missed connection after missed connection until on the last day, they sit next to each other on the plane ride home and maybe start a relationship. I just think that’d be fun.
E-Sports Story – So, e-sports are weird to me because I don’t think of them as real sports but the world has left me behind on that. I want someone to write a story where a girl has a boyfriend who is really into e-sports and who tries to get him to play with him. When he joins a competitive e-sports team, his obsession with winning coupled with the fact that he thinks she’s distracting to him and bad at the game makes him break-up with her to focus on winning an upcoming tournament. In order to win him back, girl enlists the help of a group of e-sports players and she joins an e-sports team, falls in love with the nerdy guy who was willing to help her and wins the tournament. You know, like a novel about sports except everyone is really into League of Legends and Counterstrike and it has an EDM soundtrack. I have had this idea for awhile. It’s sort of based on personal experience.