holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
holyschist ([personal profile] holyschist) wrote in [personal profile] manifesta 2010-08-01 06:28 pm (UTC)

I am so very, very frustrated by backlash.

The other thing for me here is that when I was a teenage girl, I did not read much YA. Not because of lack of representation, since it wasn't that long ago, but because I just preferred adult fiction (and, perhaps, there wasn't nearly as much YA fantasy as there is now--I'd argue that there still isn't much YA SF, much less decent YA SF). If it's generally assumed that kids like to read about and watch the adventures of kids a few years older than them, is it not logical that teenagers might want to read about adults?

So I'm not entirely convinced it's a problem that teenage boys are reading adult fiction. I suspect there are still a lot of teenage girls who are doing the same thing--I walk into Borders and their YA section is a WALL of black covers of books about vampires at private prep schools. One has to poke around to find anything else, and so I would not be surprised if there are teenage girls not in love with the vampire phenomenon who are left cold by the YA section as well.

It's normal for teens to read only YA, to read YA and A, and to read only A. It's normal for teens to read only graphic novels, too! I think the real problem is that the YA that makes it to the big chain bookstores is overwhelmingly white, overwhelmingly straight, and these days, overwhelmingly focused on vampires and/or rich kids in prep schools--at least the books turned face-out. It shouldn't be hard work to find something that stands out.

By contrast, in the adult SFF section, the covers don't always look the same, and while it's still tough to find books about characters of color and/or queer characters, it's a lot more doable. And there's a lot more obvious diversity in setting and focus just based on covers.

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