I AM NOW THE AGE OF MORE YA PROTAGONISTS. YAY ME.
(I mean I already was, given I was 16 but now I’m… wait for it…. SEVENTEEN. 17. What a game-changer!! It’s not like I’m a 5 year-old on the inside)
Now, I was going to make this post more light-hearted but I really want to talk more about the issues I’m passionate about, especially if we’re going to talk about birthday wishes!! ❤️ SO LET’S GO.
Birthday genies, if you’re out there……… 😉
1. More intersectional representation in books!
I love the influx in LGBT+ books, in books with POC, disabilities, or mental illness, but I also desperately want intersectional identities represented as well! I JUST WANT ALL THE REPRESENTATION EVERYWHERE OK.
And I fully acknowledge these books might already be out there, and I haven’t been looking in the right places! But currently, I still don’t see as many as I want in mainstream YA (although there are a ton out there that I absolutely can’t wait to read!) and I WANT MORE. I will always want more.
2. More books that focus on friendships!
I love me a good romance, don’t get me wrong! I don’t have one of my own, so I LIVE through others ok 😂 But at the same time, I want to read more books that reflect… well, me! And many other teens! We don’t all find romantic love at the smol age of 16-17-18–and not all of us want to!–and instead FRIENDSHIPS are such an important part of our lives. (Of everyone’s lives, ofc!)
Friendships just hold so much more complexity? They are the people you can tell anything to, the people who you turn to for support and encouragement and to talk to. The people whose betrayal would honestly be just as (if not more, tbh) emotionally destructive as a romantic relationship–because you trust and love them so freaking much!!
Let me just say; the amount of unconditional love and trust I hold for my friends?? YOUR FAVES COULD NEVER. 🤷🏽♀️
(And yes, I am 150% talking about my blogging friends, you know who you are and I LOVE YOU)
3. Less sexist fantasy!
I want more books where WOMEN run the world, okay. None of that “girls can’t fight or rule the kingdom” business or worlds where men can treat women horribly and get away with it because “that’s just how things are” and “boys will be boys”?
No, thank you. We have enough of that in our own world?? If you’re creating a whole new world anyway, WHY WOULD YOU NOT. Create problems with economics! Politics! But get rid of sexism, PLEASE.
4. More “casual” diverse books!
In this context, I mean books featuring diverse characters, that aren’t necessarily entirely focused on that diverse aspect? If that makes sense? Just characters, you know… LIVING THEIR LIVES. Although I love the books that focus specifically on certain issues that arise as a marginalized teen (like THUG, Love Hate & Other Filters etc) which are so so important, I also just want to see them LIVING. Going to school, dealing with friendship or romantic problems, applying to universities, family drama?? There are so many of these books ft. allocishet characters so now it’s our turn thank you!!
I also wanted to shout out Fadwa’s post that talked about how we are more than our marginalizations! Everything she said was so beautifully expressed and SPOT ON.
5. More fooood
(Can you tell I’m hungry right now??)
But seriously!! Food does so much!! It tells you about culture! About the characters! Socio-economic status! Establishes atmosphere! Setting! Might make you want to eat the book! All the good stuff!
It always kills me when characters leave their plate half empty or don’t eat (if the food is good, at least) 😩 TELL US WHAT THEY’RE EATING OK.
I have so many more items of things I want to see in books, so look out for another post sometime!! I KNOW WHAT I WANT OK (only sometimes 😂)
6. Publishers!! Giving!! More!! Opportunities to!! Marginalized!! Authors!!/People!!
Whenever someone says that there needs to be more diverse authors… I’m like NOPE, publishers need to PUBLISH more diverse authors. Because they’re out there!! Writing!! Amazing, ownvoices/diverse books!! But they need the publishers to hear them!!
And I want to see publishers choose to put out more stories about diverse characters BY diverse authors (regardless of whether another author has written something similar)!! It’s frustrating, sometimes, to see book deals for non own-voices authors writing about a foreign culture, knowing that publishing often will then reject other (own-voices) authors writing about that culture? Does that make sense? I hate how many publishing companies has made it so that if they already have one ‘type’ of book, they might not publish any more following that type of narrative. It pits authors against each other and is just not fair!
7. Having more marginalized people working behind the scenes!
I don’t actually know much about this in terms of actual numbers and evidence, so if there ARE in fact a ton who do correct me, but I would bet there is still a very large number of publishing establishments primarily led by non-diverse people?? I’m not saying those people don’t deserve their position though, just that more diverse people deserve those same positions!!
It would help so much in so many aspects? Whether it’s editing, sensitivity reading, people working on book covers (and giving us more beautifully diverse ones 👀), EVERYTHING. Just give us equal opportunities, thanks!
(Have I overused the use of exasperated exclamation marks already??)
8. Sending ARCs to ownvoices reviewers!
I know there are so many logistics to sending ARCs to book bloggers and influencers and such, but it’s just so SAD to see some ARCs fall into people who don’t give a crap (eyes people selling them online)? I totally get how many ARCs are sent to those with high followings (or just generally people in the US,,,,,, but that’s another story) but I personally want to see publishers make more of an effort to send more ARCs of diverse books to readers who might be able to see themselves in the representation!
Ownvoices reviews are so freaking important!!!
I’m not even speaking about myself here, because I’m just a smol new blogger, but in general! Reviews from ownvoices readers are so important.
9. More opportunities for international bloggers? Pretty please?
I live in Canada, so I recognize that I’m still very privileged! I just want everyone to have so many more opportunities, when they’re not in the US; to be a part of blog tours, to get ARCs, to get EVERYTHING ok. 😅
DO check out Marie’s post about supporting international book bloggers!! Because they’re so important!! ❤
10. Switching cover style mid-series
I can never buy the first book in a series without reservation* because I AM TERRIFIED the cover style for the next books will change and I WILL CRY.
This happened with Flame in the Mist? I had the first one, which is beautiful, and then they redesigned the first and second before/after the release of the second book, BUT they didn’t release a cover for the second book (Smoke in the Sun) which matched the first original cover!!
*Funnily enough, I just bought myself Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan earlier today 😅 I LOVED IT and I couldn’t resistttt
11. More boosting marginalized voices!
If someone of a marginalized community is speaking about something that affects their community… PLEASE don’t speak over them!! Retweet them! Link their post! Let them speak for themselves about issues that concern them, and give them more opportunities to do so!!
There are too many instances where our voices are drowned out in everyday circumstances, we deserve to be heard! ❤
12. More boosting of teen voices!
I’ve noticed the YA book blogging community is largely made of adults, which is great, but amidst that, the voices of teen bloggers can often get lost? Of course here are many teen bloggers that I know of and admire so much (like Taasia, Ilsa, May, Dezzy and so many more!), but so many popular voices in the community are adults, and in a space that should be friendly and open to teen voices, I fear that it’s kind of intimidating to speak out sometimes, that what we have to say isn’t always seen as being as important as what older bloggers do.
13. Book shaming has got to go?
LET PEOPLE READ WHAT THEY WANT TO READ THANKS. It kills me to see this happen! If you like to read classics! Good for you! If you like fan fiction? Great! If you like graphic novels! amazing!
I stan YOU AND YOUR READING PREFERENCES!! 💪 Anyone else can fight me.
14. Ending reader-superiority syndrome
PSA: We’re not better than non-readers because we read!! (and vice versa, they’re not better than us because they don’t lmao)
As a reader, it bothers me to no end when people act like that just because they read, they’re smarter or better than people who don’t. (Younger me did this and ughhh how I wish I could change the past.) Because people have different interests!!
Will I try to convince you that reading is amazing and you should read? Yes! Will I judge you if you prefer sports or music? Heck no. Let people love what they want to loveeee.
15. Audiobook shaming?? Needs?? to?? STOP??
It’s 2019 and y’all, this should not be a thing. I know some non-blogging friends of mine who like reading but who shame on audiobooks and… well. They haven’t spoken down on audiobooks since? 😛
I totally understand if you think audiobooks aren’t your cup of tea, it doesn’t work for everyone (though, I used to say the same thing, and I do recommend giving them another shot; sometimes the narrator might not be for you, or you may have been too distracted when using them, but I digress) BUT that doesn’t give anyone the right to claim it’s “not reading” or some other bullshit like that.
16. Less hate, more love!
I haven’t had an issue with this myself, and I’ve never heard of any issues in the blogging community specifically in WordPress (the blogging community has seriously been the LOVELIEST), but other bookish areas like Twitter or GR? THE NEGATIVITY UGH. Especially with people with larger followings (but obviously there can be nasty people everywhere); it’s just so sad, and the world has enough hate as it is!!
If you don’t like someone’s posts, videos, tweets or reviews, unfollow them! Turn away, find someone you DO like! DON’T comment or subtweet or troll them with negative or hate-filled comments, it’s just horrible. Go eat chocolate! Read a book! Take your anger out on the treadmill! Not on the lovely bloggers, book tubers, creators, readers online who are just sharing their thoughts. ❤
(And by “you” I don’t mean YOU, obviously, because you’ve all been lovely! But rather the people who are spreading negativity in the bookish communities. Just in case that needed to be clarified!)
17. More boosting backlist-titles!
This is actually one thanks to Dezzy, as she mentioned to me how there’s often a pressure to keep up with hyped titles in the bookish community! This is so true, and in all the hype, backlist titles are so easily forgotten sometimes? Which sucks because hyped, front list titles will change all the time, every year! It’s just as important to boost backlist titles, because there are so many amazing books that have released in previous years that don’t get as much love.
And what many forget is that backlist books are often way more accessible for readers who can’t buy all the new releases or whose libraries aren’t as immediately updated!
SO BOOST YOUR FAVOURITE BACKLIST TITLES!! And if you’re feeling the pressure of reading hyped books, just remember that there are still so many amazing books (that probably *were* hyped, just a year or two ago) that deserve your attention, and you should only read what you want to! ❤
Basically: MORE DIVERSITY EVERYWHERE PLEASE + DON’T ENGAGE IN SHAMING OTHERS FOR THEIR READING and BE NICE!!
I know this post was filled with so many things ahaha (I just really wanted to get to the number 17 👀😂) but let me know what are some things you really want to see happen in books, blogging or publishing-wise??! MAYBE IF WE ALL WISH FOR IT, IT WILL COME TRUE???
Also, are there any other March babies out there?? 👀 When’s your birthday??! (If you made it to the end of this freakishly long post, what’s your favourite kind of cake??? 😍 I love basically all cake ngl, this year I got a Black Forest one! IT WAS DELICIOUS)