#YANeedsMore sweeps Twitter

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Few things unite YA community like a good book – or a good hashtag. The #YANeedsMore hashtag, created by blogger Amanda Foody, swept through the Twitterverse on Thursday.

“I was considering the lack of tall female leads in YA lit,” said Foody. “As a girl who’s 5″9, I was self-conscious about my height throughout my teen years–potential significant others were always shorter than me, and it also led me to be mistaken as older, treated differently, etc. I cannot recall a single YA book with a tall 5″9 or above female lead. So I figured I’d point that out. And while I was out it, point out a lot of attributes missing from YA that could be better represented across the genre, some significantly more important than height.”

Many of the Tweets in the #YANeedsMore tag were calls for more diverse books – unsurprising, given the uptick in the calls for diversity over the past few years, thanks in part to the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement. Readers wanted more representation of fat characters, characters with disabilities, characters of minorities, poor characters, queer characters, and characters that were more than one of those things.

“Without question, YA needs more diversity in its characters, most specifically its protagonists,” said Foody. “Racial minorities, LGBTQIA, and mental illness need a much stronger presence in YA to better represent those that read the genre and for overall awareness and exposure to very real issues.”

But others were just calls for a wider range of YA fiction in areas and genres that weren’t often touched on, or tropes that they enjoyed – or tropes that they didn’t often see.

Others used the #YANeedsMore tag to peek at what others wanted – and then recommend them books they might now have heard of. While YA certainly needs a wider range of fiction in its bestsellers, and a wider range of diverse titles, the ones that currently exist might now have been heard.

And others used it to point out that, while YA needs more of all of the above, it needs more of something else: readers. Especially teen readers with a voice.

“As most of the people that follow me are writers, I was hoping writers could use the ideas from the hashtag as inspiration for their own characters,” said Foody. “I also loved hearing feedback from authors who already are creating fascinating, diverse protagonists who were more motivated in their work based on #YANeedsMore.”

And while some used the #YANeedsMore to slam on young adult literature as a whole, those tweets were widely ignored, and Foody has only one thing for them: shame.

” Young adult is a genre – regardless of the fact that anyone can read and enjoy it – that is geared toward teenagers. For the most part, #YANeedsMore is about readers and writers coming together to discuss topics that affect today’s adolescents, including divorce, mental illness, self-love, etc. Children and teenagers are always going to want to read books in which they are represented, and regardless of one’s (pretentious) views of the genre, it is disrespectful and insensitive to invade a discussion that has ultimately been about providing teenagers with better representation and education.”

For more, check out the #YANeedsMore tag on Twitter. For recommendations of books you may not have known about, check out the #QuietYA tag, or our feature with #QuietYA founder Julianne Daly.

What do you think #YANeedsMore of? Sound off in the comments below!

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About Author

Nicole Brinkley

Nicole is the editor of YA Interrobang. She has short hair and loves dragons. The rest changes without notice. Follow her on Twitter at @nebrinkley or Tumblr at nebrinkley. Like her work? Leave her a tip.

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