Well, this was tough 😌
This post was originally titled ‘What I Would Like To See More Of In Books‘, but after a lot of deliberating and after a million unsuccessful attempts at drafting the first line, I noticed that the things I am going to talk about are ‘YA Contemporary’ genre-centric. Now, I haven’t read a lot of contemporary but from what I have read, I noticed that these 5 things were missing from almost all of them.
Let me just say it, I HATE THE MEAN AND MISSING PARENTS TROPE. Haven’t we had enough of this trope? This is not even something that is specific to contemporary but spans across the YA genre in general. Books can help shape a person’s attitude and way of life, if we continue to let our young audience read such books that no doubt have great content but which present parents in a devastatingly bad light, what impact would it have on them? Parents generally are super supportive folks, let’s cut them some slack! Yes, we do have difference of opinions, generational gap and all of that stuff but let’s not forget that whenever they do stand against us, it’s only because they have our best interests at heart. Teen rebellion is common and unavoidable but I want to see parents, supportive ones, who may be super strict but at least are not out to get their child!
Want to know a book with really supportive and caring parents? Read THUG!
The ‘Real’ Details
Acne? Periods? Ya know, we do experience this stuff and it would be appreciated if we got this instead of ‘flawless’, smooth and oh-so-gorgeous faces. It would be really interesting to see how book characters deal with everyday problems and not present an unrealistic standard for young girls to achieve.
The Right Diversity
There have been hordes of discussions on the topic of diversity/representation in literature and this in itself is a topic that demands a whole post, but here, I am just talking about ‘the right’ kind of representation: Don’t stereotype your characters! Every Indian is not a tech geek nor is every Japanese a lover of sushi! Give your characters substance, not stereotypes. Categorising and generalising is not the way to go when you want your character to be of diverse origins. Consider having your piece read by multiple people of your character’s origin area to identify the problematic points.
Casual representation of mental health is dangerous. We need books that talk, explain and let us see the struggle of a person suffering with anxiety, depression, PTSD etc etc. These days terms like OCD, anxiety, depression are thrown around very casually on the internet. So much so that what their implications are often overlooked. Even if a person does recognize the symptoms of depression, he/she may not chose to have it treated because ‘everybody has it!’. We need to educate the masses about what it really means to be suffering from a particular ailment/disorder and what better way to do it than with books?
I read this post on Marie’s blog a few days back where she has Sim from Flipping Through The Pages guest post on the topic of ‘Mental Health And The Books That Featured It Right‘. Sim gives us a list of awesome books to add to our TBR’s, do check it out!
Shades of Grey
Hehe, I don’t want any 50 shades of grey in my books 😂 What I do want are characters in the shades of grey. Let’s face it, no human, let alone character is completely white/good or black/bad, everyone is a different shade of grey. I would love to read about such characters. Lemme see the bad side of good characters too just like you let me see the good side of bad characters! I don’t want a goody-good saint, I want a realistic, humane character whom I can relate with.
Woah, so there it is! Sorry that this post is sans any kind of media 😭 It was very last minute and I had no will to look up for photos or gifs.
Do you agree with any of my observations? Do you want to add your own to the list? Let me know!