June 12, 2013

Yearbook Meeting #2: Debate Team

Hey, Misfiteers! Welcome to our new monthly feature in which you can get to know the girls behind the argyle a little better by attending one of our "Yearbook Meetings!" This month's meeting is of the Debate Team, and here's what we're discussing:

What issues would you like to see addressed more in YA?

I think there are some strides being made toward YA becoming more diverse, but we've still got a long way to go. I'd really love to read some YA that reads like the ABC Family show "Switched at Birth" - a discussion of handicapability, the different approaches from within and without, exploring how very possible - and common - it can be to love and be proud of being "different." - Dahlia

I know a lot of teens with strong religious practices, but every time I read a religious character, they're either a caricature or religion is the central plot.  I'd love to see some characters who practice their faith just as part of their character. This extends to all religious persuasions too! - Jenny

I think Jenny's right. It would be cool to see more characters who are religious just as another part of their character. Personally (and I don't know if it's just because I'm an anxious mom) I've been really saddened by all the stories of bullying in schools and the trauma that can cause. I'd love to see more about the new social issues that junior high and high school students are facing. Also, more non-skinny girls in YA! - Leigh Ann

To the surprise of absolutely no one, I'd love to see more diversity in YA. :) I'd love to see more disabled characters, more genderqueer characters, more Latino characters, more autistic characters, more character with mental illnesses, more bisexual characters, more--more you-name-it-we've-got-it. And not just as "issue" books, but across the spectrum of YA lit. I'd love for it to be that much more inclusive. - Marieke

I'm going to jump on the diversity train here - I would love to see more characters with mental illnesses portrayed in a positive light, rather than having the mental illness be the root problem in a horror or thriller novel. It'd be even better if it happened in a genre other than contemporary. - Chessie

I tend to hear "issue book" and shudder and run the other way. So I guess my answer would be books with diverse characters and "issues" where the Thing isn't really a Thing, like what Jenny says about religion above. Like how, in the MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series, Alec is gay, but he's gay just like anybody else is straight. The book isn't about him or others struggling with it or talking about it all the time, it is just a part of his character. I would like to see that happen more not only in contemp, but across genres. - Maggie

EEEP! *runs in late to the meeting* Sorry! Debating issues, huh? I'd like to see more diversity, yes, but more dealing with disability, too. Not just supernatural hardship, but real life hardship. Chronic illness that doesn't magically go away when some sort of power shows up. I'd also like to see social hardship, beyond alcoholic parents or divorce. Loving families that are still just scraping by, but somehow make it work. - Cait


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