March 6/7 marked my two-year blogiversary which means I’ve been blogging about YA books for two years now.
When I started blogging I wanted to see more teens blogging and now I still do.
A lot of the things I wanted when I initially started blogging were nothing of importance but the topics I see teens talking about now are- race, gender, sexuality, religion, disabilities, etc.
And still, I see the adults who dominate the community, who hold the most power, shut ideas like that down.
We’re teens, these books are our lives and in part our own experiences. It’s our voices that should be listened too and heard.
When teens ask for diversity (and POC/queer adults help us) it shouldn’t be met with annoyance and ridicule from the adult bloggers and book tubers and hesitations and reluctance from the writers who are supposed to be writing for us.
Listen, us teens are putting in the time and effort to make forums online for YA books so you could can trust that they’re putting time into them every day outside of the online world. We carry them around school, exposing their friends and classmates and clubmates and teammates, and you can bet they’re talking to their friends about it and maybe even family. If a teen is going to make a book blog or booktube or Instagram to talk about these books you know they’re exposing other people even if we don’t have the widest Internet following and the best part is that they’re exposing them to fellow teens.
On top of that, we’re teens! The people being written about and represented! We know who are peers are, who they represent, we know our lives what’s accurate and what’s not. We know what we want to see in our books and that’s an accurate reflection of us!
Sure there are those adults, those librarians and English teachers who want to expose their students to these books and talk about them but overall TEENS are here and doing the work in the shadows!
I wake up every morning and look in the mirror (bc of face washing and there’s a mirror on my door, vanity at its finest) and I see a queer, white teen girl.
Now there are a lot of YA books about white girls so not that but how about queer girls?
Teen girls of color?
Teens of different genders?
Teens of different religions.
Teens with different disabilities?
I’m not trying to say I don’t want adults in the community or to push aside those with large followings. But I want more teens and I want more teen voices to be heard and listened to. Adult peoples are great but they aren’t the end all be all of YA. The teens are. We’re the characters, we’re the readers.
I’m not saying that we teens deserve followings in the thousands on our platforms with hundreds of interactions per post, or arcs, or private audiences with authors.
I’m saying we deserve a damn voice in what’s being written for us and a safe space in platforms for genres meant for US.
Listen to us. Acknowledge us. Don’t disregard us because we’re teens or because we have barely any followings.
When we say we want more people like us, more queer people, more people of color, more genders, more disabilities, LISTEN! Because that’s our lives, that’s what we see, our reality and our reality should be reflected in books written for us!
If you’re an author you should be doing your research anyways so what’s the harm in researching different people to rep? You’re writing YA for us so accurately represent us! Do your research on different races, religions, sexual orientations, romantic orientations, disabilities, and the like and add it in there!
I promise you we’re not all white, heterosexual, cis girls.
As a teen, I want a world that at least partially* reflects the one around me and when I tell people that I want to be heard and not disregarded by someone who’s only comfortable with having white, heterosexual teen girls as their MCs.
We’re a part of this community. We are this community. Listen to us. We’re here and we’re staying.
*Partially not meaning I want a world set in modern day society with all white people and no dragons, I really want diversity and dragons.