Stef (firecat) wrote,

On diversity in young adult fiction

I signal-boosted the initial #YesGayYA post, and I'm glad I did. Lately I've been seeing some criticism of how the authors defined diversity and the lists that got generated of YA books with queer characters and characters of color. So now I'm signal-boosting a post that in my opinion does a good job of laying out some of that criticism.

"In which I am derailing and contrary and also unsupportive of the Market"

The criticism boils down to: "Now, a lot of those books they have listed are, in my opinion, ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE at representing the identity they are supposed to be foregrounding." And [personal profile] deepad goes on to discuss how difficult it is to find nuanced critiques of such books.

I am glad that the original authors called for increased diversity in YA fiction. I also appreciate efforts to discuss the problems in some of the already published books that attempt to support diversity.

Personal comments ahead, aside from the original topic

Confession: I really don't like most fiction marketed as YA (Young Adult). I will sometimes read stuff that's specifically recommended as excellent (for example, I'm reading Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnendi Okorafor right now), but if something is YA then I need a pretty big extra impetus to pick it up. The original post asked people to vote with their pocketbooks and buy YA with diverse characters, and to write about YA with diverse characters. I felt a little uncomfortable signal boosting the post and knowing I wasn't too likely to do either one, since I don't read that much YA.

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