My YA wishlist

I was recently asked on tumblr what things I would like to see more and less of in YA books, and I really enjoyed answering it, so I thought I’d post it here too. These are all my personal preference, based on the kind of things I like to read, and what I think about particularly when I’m writing.

I would like to see more:

  • millennial authors writing plots about or directly involving the internet (in whatever way you want, but specifically fandom)
  • diversity
  • female anti-heroes
  • dogs. always dogs.
  • feminism
  • magical realism instead of (as well as) the typical fantasy worlds
  • funny pop culture humour (in-jokes and references!)
  • flawed protagonists
  • typical superhero tropes twisted in interesting ways (like the villain/hero ex-boyfriends story in Nimona)
  • female friendships/relationships being centre stage
  • stories set in the first year of university in the UK (not NA – in YA)

I would like to see less:

  • boy-girl-boy love triangles (any other combination, though, give it me now)
  • brooding/mysterious male love interests with a tragic past (hard to write without romanticising emotional manipulation)
  • the white male “chosen one”
  • girls looking at themselves in the mirror and describing their appearance (this one springs to mind because I am guilty of doing it in character introductions..)
  • girls who don’t think they are pretty despite being very conventionally attractive and receiving lots of male attention
  • ….green eyes
  • “I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding.”
  • insta-love
  • GBF (have them be the protagonist!)

What would you like to see?

A rebloggable version of this post can be found here. 

Published by Lauren James

Lauren James was born in 1992, and has a Masters degree from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. She is the twice Carnegie-nominated British Young Adult author of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, The Quiet at the End of the World and The Next Together series, as well as the dyslexia-friendly novella The Starlight Watchmaker and serialised online novel An Unauthorised Fan Treatise. Her upcoming release is The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker. She started writing during secondary school English classes, because she couldn’t stop thinking about a couple who kept falling in love throughout history. She sold the rights to the novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university. Her books have sold over fifty thousand copies in the UK alone, and been translated into five languages worldwide. Her writing has been described as ‘gripping romantic sci-fi’ by the Wall Street Journal and ‘a strange, witty, compulsively unpredictable read which blows most of its new YA-suspense brethren out of the water’ by Entertainment Weekly. The Last Beginning was named one of the best LGBT-inclusive works for young adults by the Independent. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and all of her books feature female scientists in prominent roles. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe was inspired by a Physics calculation she was assigned at university. The Quiet at the End of the World considers the legacy and evolution of the human race into the far future. Lauren lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient.  She has written articles for numerous publications, including the GuardianBuzzfeed, Den of GeekThe Toast, and the Children’s Writers and Artist’s Yearbook 2020. She teaches creative writing for Coventry University, WriteMentor, and Writing West Midlands, providing creative writing courses to children through the Spark Young Writers programme.

5 thoughts on “My YA wishlist

  1. – millennial authors writing plots about or directly involving the internet (in whatever way you want, but specifically fandom)

    The only one I’ve even read is Fangirl, but I agree! I’ve also been trying to WRITE this, but I never get anywhere because I hear the critical voices more strongly than I do with stuff that doesn’t involve fanfic or the Internet (which definitely needs to change!).

    – funny pop culture humour (in-jokes and references!)

    I like when authors do this, but I also like stuff like 17th Century Fanfic so I’m worried that this side of me will come out if I try and it won’t come off the right way.

    – female friendships/relationships being centre stage

    Fave. ❤

    – boy-girl-boy love triangles (any other combination, though, give it me now)

    Yes! I love reading these, and I don't get the hate that they get now. There's such an innocent thrill in 'WHO WILL THEY CHOOSE?"

    – ….green eyes

    I used to like this because I have green eyes and that was my go-to "this character is like me" trait when I had nothing else (sad, I know). But now it's so prevalent that I sadly agree.

    The only thing I'd add to your list is that I'd like to see more millenials dealing with growing up rural. I want to read about YA protagonists who didn't have the Internet at home because the cables weren't there and their phones don't get service way out in the back country. I want to see them succeed in Urban Life, even though its realities clash with everything they've learned.

    We have books set in the country, but the characters still mostly act like they're from NYC (even if they're not American???). That wasn't really my reality until I moved to a big city for school (even then I live in a French city so it's not the same), and I think I'm not the only one who felt major culture clash over that.

    ALSO:

    – dogs. always dogs.

    okay.

    hold on.

    this is a BLOG not a WISH-GRANTING FACTORY!

    Like

    1. My book 3 is v v v fandom, so hopefully it’ll get finished one day.

      I would totally read a YA book in the style of a 17th C fic, just sayin’.

      I totally agree about wanting more rural books. Have you read BONE GAP? It does this very well. Plus, there is the opportunity for more dogs… 😉

      Like

      1. – I would totally read a YA book in the style of a 17th C fic, just sayin’.

        The Millie book has the potential to turn into that, but it’s still early.

        – Have you read BONE GAP? It does this very well.

        I haven’t, but I might have to add it to my summer reading list!

        – Plus, there is the opportunity for more dogs… 😉

        I actually really like dog books? I personally haven’t written a dog yet because I feel weird just having a dog. I always feel like they have to be a huge part of the story because THEY ARE SO IMPORTANT

        Like

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