5 Things YA Contemporary Novels Need More Of

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.

Supportive Parents

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.

Mental Health

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!

32 thoughts on “5 Things YA Contemporary Novels Need More Of

  1. Aghhhh yes yes yes! I 100% agree with everything you said here.
    Something else I’d like to see more of in books is good sibling relationships – supportive, loving ones. ‘Cause siblings are great, and I feel like they’re under appreciated in YA Literature.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. YES! I fully support this message! The supportive parents one is one I’ve thought about a lot. Usually the books I read have absent parents who know nothing of their child’s life or the mean parents or the aloof ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, thanks!! I can relate with the absence of supportive parents in books. Parents are almost always either mean/negative/aloof or absent altogether and sometimes the authors don’t even bother to explain their absence! Here’s to supportive parents!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with everything but I’ve to add something to the first point. I mean: yes, we should have the fair amount of supportive parents, but I also need to read more books in which parents aren’t always that good, instead of directly absent.
    It would resonate a lot with my life (in which my parents are supportive but in their own terms? Just one of the many examples). Finding more book that explore this topic would help a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was actually contemplating on adding that point but my thought was going towards ‘evil, mean parents’. Now, that you have said it, it’s exactly what I wanted to include. I, too haven’t read a book that explores this topic but I think any book by an Asian author that has parents would naturally fall under this category!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for linking to Sim’s guest post on my blog, I agree that she did a fantastic job with it 🙂
    This is such a great post, I really agree with everything you’ve mentioned here. I’m especially missing some of these real details you mentioned, acne, periods and things like that aren’t often present, less alone just mentioned, in ya contemporary and it makes me sad. I mean, I’m not asking for pages and pages about that, but some mentions would make it all the more realistic 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! I definitely agree on the shades of grey. I would like the characters to have more depth overall, even if someone is brave and fierce doesn’t mean that they are never vulnerable. I also want more kind love-interests 😊 I really like books in which the love interest is actually nice and understanding of the main character!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too! I am a sucker for good romance books and I can ship some characters to the moon and back 🤣 I love and ‘want’ characters to have more depth! It adds so much to the story and makes them believable!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is such a great list!! No person is 100% morally good, and I love reading books where characters have to navigate these internal struggles because we see them grow so much. We definitely need more organic and genuine diversity in YA too and more mental health representation too because it really speaks to us as readers to see ourselves well-represented in these stories ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You summed up my whole post with those lines! Definitely need all of these stuff not only in Contemporary YA but fiction in general. Organic representation is really important because I have a hard time relating to some said characters who are supposed to be from my place, I am sure that’s the case with all of us.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Supportive parents, or as I like to call them: parents who give a sh*t. 😛

    This whole list is spot-on, though. I’ve never given much thought to the “real” details like feminine hygiene, but now that I am, authors don’t even have to go into explicit detail if they don’t want to. As much as the series is hated, I think Stephenie Meyer wrote about Bella getting her period once or twice in Twilight (at least, I think she did. Admittedly, I’ve read so much Twilight fanfiction over the years, I may be misremembering lol).

    Also, it’s such a small thing, but whenever I read a YA Contemporary where it mentions a character going pee, I’m always like, “YES! Finally!”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I haven’t read Twilight yet and hence cannot corroborate the info 🤣 But if she did, Yay for Stephanie Meyer! I really need to read Twilight, readers nowadays are hell-bent on trashing it😂

      I can relate so much! How the go days without peeing is something that needs to be looked into. Dehydrated lot 😂😂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. ❤❤❤❤❤❤ this post. I agree with every point except supportive parents. I have read some contemporary , most of them had protective supportive parents. And the shades of grey is important. It feels like that is dedicated to fantasy novels.

    Liked by 1 person

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