Representation I Want to See in YA \\ basically what I think is lacking from YA books

YA fantasy books are boring me lately.

All of the worlds are based on England, or at least the UK, and everyone is white and straight and it’s SO BORING. Even though the storylines are different I feel like I’m reading the same thing over and over again.

Especially in fantasy books. Contemporary books have been getting more and more diverse, which is good, but I feel like we’re still working on fantasy.

To be clear: I don’t automatically hate these books or the people writing them. And it’s not like I can’t enjoy these books…but it’s like watching all the Marvel movies in one week. At some point, it starts to become repetitive.

So allow me to make a few requests:

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ACCURATE Pansexual Characters

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Look, I’m biased. You all know that. But I have never seen a pan character, at all, in fantasy books.

And I don’t mean a character or author just telling me a character is Pan – I want to see it. Show don’t tell, people.

Let me give an example: the difference between bi and pan is that pan includes attraction to people who are non-binary\trans\genderfluid. So to me, to show a pan character accurately would be to have a love interest that is trans\gender-fluid\non-binary.

Because sometimes in fantasy books words like pansexual or bisexual don’t exist, and when they don’t exist it can be hard to tell if a character is bi or pan. Both are fine, but again, I’m biased.

You could also say that I’m calling for trans rep in fantasy books. However you want to take it is fine to me.

 

Diverse Religions

Other than Christian, I mean. I don’t see any other religions represented in any YA books, and I want to know more! I’m curious!

As of right now, I’m an atheist, but I was raised going to a Unitarian Universalist church.

Not saying that I want UU rep – although I am really proud of the things the UU has done in the past – I just want to see more than the Christian religion. Buddhism is also something I enjoy learning about but don’t see much of.

 

South America…anything?

I feel like we don’t get anything inspired by or based in South America? Which is so weird because there’s so much history there! The Amazon rainforest could also be an excellent setting, BTW.

The Mayans instantly come to mind for me, and TBH I really want to read a Mayan-inspired story. But there’s so much more! Many ancient civilizations and mysteries. For more information, there are a few Expedition Unknown episodes about cultures and mysteries and more that I highly suggest.

 

Chinese\Japanese mythology

There is so much inspiration here!! Chinese and Japanese history is really interesting and then you throw in the mythology and you’ve got an incredible fantasy novel!

Also, East-Asian mythology differs from the Greeks or Egyptians, which is what I’m familiar with. It has a very different tone to it, which I find interesting (and intimidating…I keep running back to the Greeksย ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜… )

 

Underrated Greek Mythology

Okay, here’s the thing: a lot of people claim to have a story based off of Greek mythology. But it’s always the same stories, and there are A LOT of lesser-known, amazing stories!!**

Greek mythology has people who are trans, gay, lesbian, ace AND they have some really badass females! Take Psyche for example – she made a mistake and then went through so many challenges and adversity to prove her love to Aphrodite. And she was pregnant the whole time!

Basically, the Greeks knew what was up.

So if your retelling doesn’t have any of that, it’s hard for me to really say it’s Greek-inspired. Their stories were about people! Not idols!*

*especially not idols. 90% of the “heroes” ended up messing up in some way and dying so…

**Also, take all of the above with a grain of salt. I get really passionate about the Greeksย ๐Ÿ˜‚

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What kind of rep do YOU want to see? I could probably come up with more, but these are the ones off the top of my head.

Have a good week readers!

Love, Marrill

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2 thoughts on “Representation I Want to See in YA \\ basically what I think is lacking from YA books

  1. I agree that there’s a lack of diversity in YA fantasy – and even adult fantasy, in fact! While some authors appear to be making an effort, the majority of non-white/straight/cis characters that appear are side characters rather than an MC…and therefore get far less attention.

    When it comes to LGBT+ characters, I think one of the difficulties – as you pointed out – is how to actually get the point across in a “fantasy” world, where they don’t use the same terminology, or possibly any terminology at all. This is particularly the case with pansexual and ace/aro characters, whose identities are perhaps not as straightforward to discern, or less apparent in their everyday behaviours?? It’s an interesting challenge!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! I think the market is just so overloaded with the same thing at the moment. But the YA publishers have been taking notes and signing more diverse authors, which is a step in the right direction!

      In my experience, when it comes to showing sexuality or identity in fantasy you really have to SHOW and not TELL. For example, a non-binary character can be identified by the pronoun they use, and that’s an easy way to do it. But when it comes to describing a character who is ace or trans… I’m still trying to figure that out ๐Ÿ˜‚ I’m sure someone out there has!

      Liked by 1 person

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