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Top Ten Topics That Instantly Make Me ***GRABBY HANDS***
I'll admit it. There are certain things I'm a sucker for: any and all references to Batman, guys with eyes like Sinatra, and unicorns that shit cupcakes.
Here are the top ten topics that when I find YA books about them, I MUST MUST read them immediately.
10. Anything that references Shakespeare. Because, ya know, it's FUCKING SHAKESPEARE, YO!
9. GLBTQ characters: I think sexual identity is such a hugely mis- and underrepresented topic in YA. I know it takes years to get from query to publication but it still feels to me like traditional publication is decades behind in this topic.
8. Dystopian YA--So bummed that it's on its way out. I'm a total sucker for dystopians. Especially if they have a more realistic/possible twist to them.
7. "John Green"--Beyond being a total John Green fan girl I will also read anything he mentions on twitter or stamps with his approval. It's the whole reason I picked up Eleanor and Park, which incidentally should be on every single person's TBR list if you haven't picked it up yet.
6. Performing Arts--If the MC is a dancer, singer, actor, musician I must read it. Always looking for recommendations in this area.
5. Latina YA--Another underrepresented minority in YA lit. Have a couple on my TBR list right now I cannot wait to read!
4. Atypical Family Dynamics that ARE NOT the book's focus--my favorite thing about Lola and the Boy Next Door is how non-issue it is that she has 2 dads. It's mentioned. It's a subplot point, but it's not the entire focus on the book. I think when we make sexual identity an "issue" then that's what it becomes. And, really, kids with atypical families get enough of that at school.
3. Mental Illness or Psychology--whether it's a story about depression like It's Kind of a Funny Story (which was pretty good) or a psychological thriller like Fracture (which was amazeballs) I love books that make us think about how we think...and that bring to light our cognitive dysfunctionality.
2. Substance Abuse--Because it's such a huge part of my own writing I like to stay on top of how other writers portray the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs in their work. Though it often makes me ranty. Two masters' degrees and too many years of experience in the trenches will do that to you. It's really probably better for the community when I leave these puppies on the shelf, but yeeeeeeah, I just can't.
1. An MC with a Disability--Although this goes hand in hand with #4. Don't show me a kid dying of cancer. Show me a kid surviving it. Show me a character who won't be defined by his/her limitations. That's the stuff of real life inspiration.
Got any recommendations in these categories? I'd love to hear them! What are the hot topics you can't leave on the shelf?