Hey there, I’m Riya. This is my first blog post on here and what better topic than my thoughts on young adult novels.
I’m turning sixteen soon and the one thing that I’m absolutely adoring in young adult novels these days is that they don’t conceal flaws. There is this environment of acceptance all around in the Y.A genre which is heart warming.
Mental Illnesses are not being romanticised like they used to a couple years back. LGBT novels and also books that involve people of colour are catching wind in their sails. Normalising these love stories of queer people is essential right now. Whenever I’m stuck in a sticky situation, I think about what that character from that one book would’ve done. Just like that, teenagers need to be made aware that no matter their sexual preferences, no one holds the rights to alienate them from society.
This generation cherishes individuality and concepts of letting go of old cliches to replace those with eccentric stories. That is what this age’s Y.A novels are all about.
Another topic that I really feel must be incorporated into YA books is Feminism. Now let me make it clear- Feminism is synonymous to equality for both men and women. Men have seriously faced inequalities which in turn set off against women. Men have been conditioned, ever since they were a kid, to toughen up. Don’t cry, hide your emotions, stand up to your bullies like a boy, etc. And that’s when girls are shamed for not being a fragile flower.
In today’s feminist hating world, girls are shamed for being strong minded, and opinionated. Once we start setting off books where the protagonist is simply a feminist be it a guy or a girl, will bring a feeling of relief to those girls in high school who are trying to not build muscles by accident and are eating less to thin up and also to the boys who are nerdy and not into sports.
Teenagers must be introduced to the world of those goal oriented pathways that lead you to discover yourself instead of falling in love with the guy/ girl on the subway with pretty hair. It must be made clear to teens/ young adults that they don’t have to be a certain way for society to accept them. Now, I’m a complete fluff for romance and love reading cute romances but when a certain aspect of the novel loses its touch with reality, it ticks me off.
For example- this one book I read recently had this couple where the girl was in a coma while the boyfriend didn’t leave the hospital or even shower for like six months. I’m not even exaggerating. The author actually mentions him not showering for months and god that’s the opposite of anything romantic. I really hated turning those pages. Probably the first novel that I ever disliked in the simple way that the storyline was scattered.
A junior in my school has been getting blackmailed by a hacker, (the case is in the hands of the cyber police). She gave in to the hacker’s demand for nudes because that’s how mortified she was. And just in my opinion, a lot could be avoided if young adult books start addressing topics of cyber bullying and the ways to handle it. Not many parents invest the time to teach their children where to finally take action in such cases. These topics are taboo in most orthodox families. The hacker had her photos with her boyfriend and because I live in India, where dating is frowned upon in high schoolers, she was terrified of how her parents would react.
There is an urgent need for books supporting LGBT rights and Feminist movements in India because I am not kidding you- the teachers in my school are all homophobic and make disturbing jokes in classrooms regarding transgender people especially. In such situations, only a book can give comfort to that one kid who can’t think out loud that he/she is gay.
We need to be made aware of the universe we hold inside of us. Filled with the most vibrant galaxies that hold immense capability to change the world. Be it in your own mini way, little by little. Be it through reading or through creating worlds with words spreading hope, acceptance, courage and support.
I have my finals coming up, so definitely will try getting more blog posts out but will definitely be offline for the month of March. Except on my birthday (2nd of March) on which I will be posting about the book that really had an imprint on me as an eight year old.
Hope I was able to contribute something in my first blog post.