This week marks the final days of December, 2017. As such, Top 5 Wednesday is all about our top 5 books we wish for. Here are some of the themes I want more of.
5. Minority groups in historical settings
Right now, I am reading A Madness so Discreet, and all I am thinking about is how rare it is to discuss mental health in a historical setting. Not only is it a shunned topic, it is also not often discussed in a complicated manner in young adult literature. I am not sure why this is the case. Why do some people assume that all those who read YA are not capable of complex discussions. It just needs to change.
I want it to go beyond just mental illness. Intersectional identities existed throughout history. Talk about queen people with mental illness in a historical setting. And, as much as I love steam punk, I want authentic narratives. My favorite discussion was definitely in The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. Definitely want more well-researched historical fiction in 2018.
4. magical realism
Your home girl here loves a lot of magical realism. Basically, it feels like a good stepping stone between fantasy and contemporary fiction. There’s this je ne sais quoi factor to it. It’s like being in Neverland but not being totally sure of what is happening. Anna Marie McLemore is basically the leader on my boards of magical realism tallies. I adored her work (read all of it this year and the year past). So, here’s what I’d like: queer identities, minorities, disabled people in magical realism tales. Write about how awesome these characters are. Make them varied and complex, and messy. The messier, the better.
3. raw discussions of society as it stands
Part of the charm of stories lies in their potential social commentaries. The Hate U Give offered so much nuance and direct correlations from the text to the news. It shed light on what it is like to live in such a disadvantaged position in the social structure of American communities.
While it felt rushed, a similar discussion was in The Sun is Also a Star. Yoon discussed the multi-faceted nature of being an American. She explores the dimensions of first love, heartbreak, hope, and loss.
Sometimes, I feel like we want social justice to be discussed in contemporaries, but we don’t see the power of symbolism. This Savage Song and its sequel had such an impact on myself as a person, because I was shaken by the way Schwab examined cruelty and humanity. What if your acts had a physical manifestation as a result? Something bold and strong, and it tracks you down?
2. genre mash up
The beauty of stories also is in the way they can be presented. I think that we need to start freshening things up. Try different ways of telling a story. Like Illuminae comes to mind. I enjoyed the way its authors included such a vast exploration of genre and story telling methods. They worked well for me, and I am looking forward to continue with stories like this.
Another mash up I really enjoyed is in Rebel Belle. It is the clash between a contemporary and a fight/action tale that really made the story memorable. Sometimes, you just need to read something amusing and different. What I am trying to say is that authors could perhaps try meshing various commonly used genres to get something completely different and unique.
1. open ended conclusions
My favorite ending was the one in The Raven King, and I just want stories with inconclusive conclusions. You don’t have to spoon-feed me an ending. I can come up with my own assumptions about what happened to the characters after the main conflict is resolved–if it is resolved at all.
In other words, I want authors to treat readers as the intelligent people that they are. Nobody needs all stories to have a nicely wrapped up bow atop the ending. Totally fine with vagueness, too. Like, “Did this person live or no?” I think, in doing so, the stories become more about us and less about a dictated spelled-out series of actions. The coolest thing is when you read a story, and your understanding of what happened changes completely over time.
Just a thought.