Discussion Sundays: Diversity in YA

Diversity Edit

Hello everyone! I am back with my second Discussion Sunday! I’m so sorry that I missed last week’s post… I was piled under way too much homework and I didn’t even have time to read 😦

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, “Discussion Sundays” will help me get to know all of you better and for us bibliophiles to be honest with each other, without judging or comparing ourselves to anyone else. The only things I will ask for everyone to do is to a) be true to yourself, even if your answers/reasons aren’t the same as mine/anybody else’s I would LOVE to hear it! b) be respectful to each other and don’t negatively criticize people’s comments/opinions. Without further ado, let’s get right on to our topic!


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Today’s Topic: Diversity in YA/NA/Adult Fiction

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First off, what is diversity? 

Diversity: 

  • The quality or state of having many different forms, types, ideas, etc.
  • The state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization


*Disclaimer: I really don’t want to offend anyone with this topic so please keep in mind that I am not siding with one race/religion/gender/sexuality/etc! I just want to see a little bit of everything ❤

My Thoughts: 

I firmly believe that diversity is one of the most important qualities or characteristics a book can have. The reason behind this, is the fact that we are all different. Now, this may seem like the most obvious notion in the world however, in many books, movies as well as TV shows, this is not the case.

Although we are living in the twenty first century with all kinds of people around us, the stretch of diversity among books seems to be very limited. Often, the main character of the story is Caucasian, blond, beautiful, skinny and just all around “perfect.” I’m aware of the fact that there are exceptions to this rule but you have to admit, it is kind of a thing that happens very often in Young Adult Literature.  The reason that I am so against this bland, repeated character is the fact that it is often hard for readers to connect or relate to them, feeling insecure of themselves and thinking (wrongly of course!) that you have to be a certain “type” to be the heroine of your story. The truth is, stories are influential. Whether they are children’s books or adult fiction, stories have a way of changing our thinking and perspective on subject matters.

With that in mind, I would love to see more authors branching out their writing, touching on subjects of mental illness or body image. The aspect of diversity doesn’t even have to be the main part of the story, the character can be bisexual and have no problems coming to that term. (I would find that even more interesting as sexuality isn’t something you choose, it’s something you are born with.) Diversity doesn’t have to mean that someone’s character arc would change or that they would have limits when it comes to their supernatural powers, it just means that they are unique and even more so relatable.

So what types of diversity do we encounter in YA? The aspect of diversity I see most frequently would have to be differences in sexuality as well as having a mental illness. But the thing is, even in those categories, the characters seem to be only capable of being homosexual or have anxiety/depression. There aren’t any books (or ones I could find) that deal with other subjects such as being transgender, having bipolar disease or having autism. Although they can be rarer than the more frequently touched upon subjects, I still find it extremely important that authors can feel comfortable writing about them. Like I said before, we as human beings need someone to relate and feel comfortable talking to. The more diversity we have in books, the better it is for us because we feel like we are not alone.

The aspect of diversity I would really like to see more of is in religion. I know religion is one of the most sensitive topics out there but it is also something that is very important to the majority of people. Even if we only get a glimpse into a character’s religious life or their family background, I feel that it would make the story much more developed and original. A conflict between religions or feeling not connected to a certain god would also be an extremely sensitive yet interesting side story.

Because I love giving recommendations, here are some books that I have read or know that promote diversity:

Race:

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

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The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Adhieh

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Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

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Everything, Everything by Nicole Yoon

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Sexuality:

Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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More Than This by Patrick Ness

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Everthing Leads To You by Nina Lacour

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

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More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

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Mental Illness

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

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It’s Kind of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

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Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

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Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

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The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

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And those are the ones I could think of on top of my head! If you have any recommendations or favourites, please let me know in the comments 😀


 

Thought provoking questions: 

(Just a side note that you do not have to answer any/all of these questions to leave a comment! I would love to hear any of your thoughts <3)  

  1. What do you think about diversity in books?
  2. Which books/authors that promote diversity are your favourite? Which books/authors do you think need more diversity in their stories?
  3. Do you find that having diversity helps you connect with the characters better or worse?
  4. Why do you think diversity in books is important/not important?
  5. Which aspect of diversity do you see the most in books? Which do you think need more recognition?

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I think I’m done “talking” for today! It’s your turn:

What do you think about Diversity in books? I would love any opinions or thoughts on this topic! Let’s discuss in the comments below 🙂

As always, thanks for reading loves xoxo,

-Jenna <3-

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2 thoughts on “Discussion Sundays: Diversity in YA

  1. wroteyouanovel says:

    Wonderful post! I totally agree with you that there should be more diversity in books, whether that’s race, sexuality, mentally illnesses or anything else. I just finished a novel called “George” which is about a trans girl and it handled that topic very well and was educating, so I recommend that one!

    Liked by 1 person

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