Anybody tuned into YA over the past few months would have noticed a hashtag that kept popping up: #QuietYA.
I’m using #quietYA for books that aren’t best sellers, award winners, and/or adapted into movies and ONLY YA.
— Julie (@DailyJulianne) April 7, 2015
It started in April. Julianne Daly – a blogger at Bloggers Heart Books and former YA Interrobang writer – was determined that the only books on her Twitter feed shouldn’t be the books with the big marketing budgets. And after Buzzfeed posted an article on “underrated” YA books that focused on bestsellers, books that had been adapted into movies, and books that weren’t YA at all, Daly knew something had to be done.
So she waited a few hours – “It was kind of infuriating, but it was also around 2 in the morning, so I waited to start tweeting until the next day” – and began Tweeting recommendations with the hashtag #QuietYA.
— Lauren Morrill (@LaurenEMorrill) July 17, 2015
“#QuietYA is most of YA, honestly,” said Daly. “We have a bad habit in the Internet community of forgetting things easily and acting like an echo chamber. As a community, we push the couple of big books that already have a lot of publisher push. But then there are dozens and dozens of books released each week that don’t have a huge publisher backing or come from a small publisher that can’t do a huge push. They still pop up in the community, but it’s more sporadic and easy to miss, then they fall off the radar quickly. Taking time in mass to celebrate these books specifically makes it harder to let them slip off the radar.”
The terminology for #QuietYA can be confusing for some. How can Team Human – a book that features vampires, werewolves, and explosions – count as a “quiet” book?
“Officially, quiet YA is all about books that are more literary and character based,” wrote Daly in a blog post. “Less action and less intense – Eleanor & Park is a great example of a quiet book. But #quietYA isn’t quite the same. For me, it’s about the books that don’t get a lot of attention. My official rules have always been no bestsellers, no major award winners, just to keep it simple.”
STITCHING SNOW by R.C. Lewis is a great sci-fi Snow White retelling and I’m stoked for the next book. #quietYA
— Julie (@DailyJulianne) July 17, 2015
SEKRET by Lindsay Smith has psychic teen spies in Soviet Russia and I’m sorry but what about that doesn’t sound perfect? #quietYA — Julie (@DailyJulianne) July 17, 2015
The short hashtag makes up for the little confusion. It means there’s plenty of space to talk about books – or to support other campaigns simultaneously. Take, for instance, the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign.
Since it began, the diverse books campaign has grown, becoming a charity that focuses on raising awareness for diverse titles and encouraging diversity in publishing from the ground up. But campaigns like #quietYA help bring attention to older diverse titles that might have slipped under the radar.
‘”I’ve noticed a lot of older books, pre-WNDB, didn’t get pushed as a book with diversity and it’s kind of “hidden,'” said Daly. “But now people are looking for it, so when you push it again while pointing out it’s a diverse read, it brings in more excitement. The “hidden” diversity still happens with newer titles, but less often.A good number of the newer, obviously diverse titles have a lot of buzz within the blogging/twitter community, but still need more attention from outside of it. So mentioning it in the #QuietYA tag can help, but it’s more helpful to do the pushing in other circles. And if it’s not obvious, then bring it up, no matter where you’re talking about it.”
If you’re one of the people who HASN’T read THE WRATH AND THE DAWN by Renee Ahdieh, fix that. Diverse, achingly beautiful romance. #quietYA — Julie (@DailyJulianne) July 16, 2015
WILDTHORN is historical YA about a girl labeled a lunatic due to her intelligence/goals for the future. Also she’s a lesbian. #quietYA — Julie (@DailyJulianne) July 16, 2015
Author Rachael Allen reached out to her about #QuietYA, and this past week, they celebrated #QuietYA with a week of guest posts, giveaways and recommendations with dozens of bloggers and over twenty different authors. Thursday, in particular, was deemed the day for recommendations, and bloggers filled the hashtag up with their favorite quiet YA books. Older YA books, books from smaller publishers, books that had never gotten big marketing budgets, books that they loved that people might never know about – they filled the tag. Other bloggers noticed. They favorited them, asked for recommendations, and shared more of their own.
But supporting #QuietYA books doesn’t end with sharing them on the hashtag.
“Talk about them,” said Daly. “Constantly. Across social media, in real life. Write reviews and post them on Goodreads and retailer sites. And, obviously, buy them. Request them at your libraries and bookstores. New people can’t find these books if they don’t have a place to learn about them.”
What are your favorite #QuietYA books? Sound off in the comments below – and don’t forget to share your recommendations on Twitter with the hashtag #QuietYA!