In Which We Are Thankful For The Legacy Of Others

Listen, so there’s some guy in YA who stepped in it — the long and short is, he came out of nowhere, sold a six-figure debut out of a self-published YA book, and then took some time to step up to the podium to maybe kinda sorta shit on young adult literature and bluster about female characters and — well, you know how it goes. This is not really new. If you want to follow the story back more completely, you’d do well by looking at the Twitter feed of someone like @bibliogato, who is unpacking some of this stuff right now and linking to other smart people. Go look. (And you can also check out the #MorallyComplicatedYA hashtag.) (Ooh, also, Victoria Aveyard has a good pulling-apart of the problem here at her Tumblr.)

I’d like to speak about this in a more general sense — and, quite likely, I’m going to be talking more implicitly to my fellow WHITE DUDES who are living up on HETERO WHITE DUDE MOUNTAIN, because while this problem is by no means exclusive to us it certainly seems to gather around us like a cloud of flies who are feasting upon our eye-watering ego-stink.

Privilege is a weird thing.

It teaches us by example that we own the house — the house metaphorically being, well, everything all around us. As such, we view all the things in the house as ours. We own this stuff, we think. We own these rooms. And so we move freely from room to room without hesitation. We muddy the carpets because they’re ours and we can dirty them all we want, goddamnit. We control what’s on the TV, we get to decide what everyone eats, we determine where to piss (toilet, toilet seat, potted plant, sink, the northeast corner of every room).

This is of course an illusion. A pretty gross one, though one that society often goes out of its way to maintain (in part because hey patriarchy and yes the patriarchy is real as it takes very little to see that men control a whole lot more than women and hey by the way, Scott Adams, you wonky Dilbert-fucker, the fact that women possess sexual consent and agency does not make our world some kind of dystopian lady-realm).  It also would seem to give us license to saunter boldly into a space that’s new to us and pretend like it’s new to everybody. We take a shit in it and pretend we’re planting a flag instead of, y’know, taking a giant shit where other people are already hanging out. “I claim this space in the name of me!” you scream, hauling up your drawers and leaving behind a steaming present while ignoring everyone else standing around gaping at the horror-struck literal shit-show you just performed.

You must unlearn what you have learned, Jedi.

This isn’t your manifest destiny. You’re entering into spaces that have already been built and shaped by people who aren’t you. You’re not colonizing it — except maybe only in the grossest ongoing historical sense, where you invade territory and overpower those who dwell there already. And you damn sure shouldn’t come into a space with the desire to “fix” it, either. I wrote a YA novel about a teen girl and crime-flavored moral complications. I was not the first to do it and I will not be the one to put the capstone on it. Neither will you, rando. I didn’t fix it. I didn’t make it better. I don’t own it. I’m sharing it. And I’m sharing it by the grace of those who came before me. (And I don’t shit on genre work, or teenagers, or Twilight or Hunger Games or any of it, because I don’t get to exist as I do without them.)

You do not honor or create your own success by ignoring or crapping on the successes of those who came before. That is gross and weird. Don’t do that. Be humble. Look back and point others to look that way. Look all around you at the present and look ahead, too. See that you are not alone — you are not the peak of this mountain and you are not the owner of this house nor its sole occupant.

It’s like borrowing a ladder from your neighbor and then pretending that you built it. Or worse, pretending that you invented the concept of the ladder, or that the mere act of you ascending its rungs has improved it in some incalculable, cosmic way. (Then you kick the ladder away to make sure nobody else ever climbs to the same height. Jerk.)

Don’t be crappy.

Give respect to others.

Admire and acknowledge their success.

Do not overtake their achievements and claim them for yourself.

Whoever you are, see yourself as part of a whole and not the sum of it.

You owe them. They don’t owe you.

Give them thanks, too — that in the spirit of tomorrow’s holiday, perhaps. (Though here I could probably get into the sick moral tangle of a holiday where colonizing pilgrims took over native lands and probably pretended like they invented turkey and corn and dinner, which is maybe altogether more apropos — but, ahem, that can be a conversation for another day.)

In fact, let’s take a moment below to give some thanks to some YA writers and books — in particular, if you care to uncover them, “morally complicated YA” novels, particularly YA novels by women. Pop ’em in the comments below, talk about what those books mean to you. 

102 responses to “In Which We Are Thankful For The Legacy Of Others”

  1. There’s another story here, too, I think. I’ve noticed that whenever someone achieves a notable success out of nowhere, they get a lot of attention. A significant proportion of that attention consists of rapt journos just waiting for the inevitable moment when they put their inexperienced foot in their non-media-savvy mouth so the frenzy can begin. Everyone either rips them apart or gets a nice schadenfreude jolly from reading about and discussing said ripping. After all, how dare they become an overnight success? We called dibs on that ourselves.

    Which is not to say it’s cool to say stupid and/or hateful stuff, even by accident. But remember, gentles all, that in these connected times every single word you say on the record will follow you like a regrettable selfie for the rest of your natural life, and way beyond. So think first, and expect that everyone – everyone – is angling to fluster you into a self-incriminating corner.

    O tempora, o mores.

    • Well, that success IS notable — though really not for the reasons people think. It’s notable because he’s getting six figures for something he’s pretending to be inventing or fixing when that’s really not the case. There’s also that throughline of “from self-pub to trad-pub,” but that only loosely recognizes that he made that jump because of connections, not because (far as one can see, anyway) merit.

    • He didn’t say it by accident. In chapter one of his novel, Mr. MorallyComplicatedYA makes demeaning comments about the whole YA genre. So he wasn’t misquoted in the interview or accidentally step in it because he’s not media savvy. The fact that his YA novel sold for six figures while he denigrates the rest of the genre is a problem. I imagine the other YA authors represented by his literary agency would agree.

  2. I read (past tense) a lot of YA till I was like 15 (5 years ago) – but then I discovered GoT and have mostly read adult fantasy since. I haven’t read much YA from then on except for a lot of mainstream stuff like Hunger Games/Divergent/Gone and whatever my three sisters got. While the aforementioned ones I didn’t particularly enjoy, they’re definitely Morally Complicated YA, and anyone who disagrees is silly. My favorite YA is Harry Potter, without a doubt, such an easy thing for me to relate to when I was younger and easily Morally Complicated YA.

  3. I’m going to raise my hand for Robin McKinley’s DEERSKIN, where she takes that fairy tale trope where the King refuses to marry anyone who isn’t as beautiful as his recently deceased Queen, and whoops that turns out to be his own daughter — and McKinley doesn’t pull punches on it. She *goes there* and the whole book is about Lissar’s survival and recovery and the power she finds for herself. It’s a really difficult book, but also beautiful and necessary.

    • Yes, this was the first book to pop into my head as well. I read it every year.

      A more recent favorite of mine is UPROOTED by Naomi Novik. Also SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo, and of course Jane Yolen’s YA works have always been on my to-read lists. Charles de Lint’s work has also been fantastic in its complexity, and I really adore the idea that Jack the Giant Killer is a girl.

      I could go on, I suppose, but thanks @carriev for getting me going with DEERSKIN. 🙂


    • I came to the comments looking for Robin McKinley. Reading The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown was my introduction to fantasy novels with female protagonists written by women. Between believable female characters and deft world building, her books definitely shaped my reading and writing.

  4. *Applause* to all those authors who succeed with YA — a group I hope to one day be a proud part of.

    Speaking of YA authors and books that deserve praise: Cinder, Book 1 of the Lunar Chronicles, by Marissa Meyer. It’s the first of a 4 book series.

    I just finished the last book, and what a great read. 🙂

    Thanks for all the things I wouldn’t know about that you bring to my attention, Chuck.

    ~ Effy

  5. Some YA novels by women that I’ve read recently and loved and think more people should read and talk about:

    The entire Gods of New Asgard series (3 books and 3 novellas) by Tessa Gratton

    Beware the Wild by Natalie Parker

    The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

    There are, of course, so many others, but these are the first to jump in my head right now.

  6. Honestly just started getting into YA recently with the Hunger Games books (when I was an actual YA I was mostly just reading Star Wars books, huzzah!). That being said, I have always considered ENDER’S GAME to be YA, and it is morally complicated as all hell!

  7. Elizabeth Wein’s CODE NAME VERITY is one of the best books I have ever, EVER read: the best female friendship, the most compelling narrative, the cleverest structure, the distinctive voices. Just perfect, and harrowing, and heart-breakingly perfect.

    Rachel Hartman’s SERAPHINA and SHADOW-SCALE are magnificent, a siege warfare of feels closing in.

    Cat Valente’s THE GIRL WHO CIRCUMNAVIGATED FAIRYLAND IN A SHIP OF HER OWN MAKING is a masterpiece, full of sharp observations about childhood and adulthood wrapped in all manner of inventive whimsy.

    Vera Brosgol’s ANYA’S GHOST, Faith Erin Hill’s FRIENDS WITH BOYS and Noelle Stevenson’s NIMONA are all utterly fantastic with a lot of heart and humour.

    • Ahhh, I loved Nimona! There’s not a lot of space carved out for female characters like Nimona; that book was a treat. And Stevenson’s art is such fun, too.

      The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland is on my reading list and the praise for it here might just bump it up a few slots …

    • I also loved Code Name Verity, Cat Valente’s Fairyland books, the Rachel Hartman books and also Nimona- we seem to have similar tastes therefore I will definitely check out the other two in your post! Yay!

  8. S.E. Hinton, Rainbow Rowell, Jacqueline Woodson, Lois Lowry, and Beatrice Sparks off the top of my insomnia-addled head.

    I can’t express how irritated I am at this whole thing. Seems like every week there’s another white dude ignorant of his own privilege shitting on others.

  9. NOT A DROP TO DRINK by Mindy McGinnis opens with the line “Lynn was nine the first time she killed to defend the pond,” and murks from there.

    And her latest, A MADNESS SO DISCREET, is full of questionable choices.

    Then there’s Tess Sharpe’s FAR FROM YOU. Lines between friends and lovers blur, get erased, get put back again on multiple angles. Plus a main character unequivocally stating she’s bisexual. Oh, and murder.

  10. Janni Lee Simner’s Faerie trilogy, beginning with Bones of Faerie, Aprilynne Pike’s Life After Theft, Clariel by Garth Nix, Demons of Milan by Kat Beyer.

    • OMG I’m in the comments. Wow, thank you!!

      I remember reading Janni Lee Simner’s Bones of Faerie which came out before my faerie debut and I was in a funk for a week because her book was so amazing I new no one would ever want to read my faerie book. But you know what? People read both of ours, because they were different. (Hers is still better. If you can read only one faerie book, make it Bones!!) But like Chuck said, it’s not one thing. No one writes the ONE THING!! There is stuff for everyone. (But Bones, read Bones!!;))

  11. I’ll throw out another Courtney Summers book – SOME GIRLS ARE. Other books I wish more people would read: anything by Steve Brezenoff (though BROOKLYN, BURNING is my favorite), Christa Desir’s BLEED LIKE ME and FAULT LINE, and Carrie Mesrobian’s CUT BOTH WAYS and SEX AND VIOLENCE. And way back in the dark ages, before YA was really a thing, Virginia Euwer Wolff wrote MAKE LEMONADE (which eventually became a trilogy). I haven’t read the last book in the trilogy yet, but the first two have stuck with me for years.

  12. As a reader of a goodly number of YA books, I find it difficult to limit the mentions here, but also am sure that I am forgetting as many as I am remembering. Here is a variety of YA books I’ve very much enjoyed:

    Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
    The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
    Heist Society by Ally Carter
    Graceling by Kristin Cashore
    What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
    The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
    The Beka Cooper Series by Tamora Pierce
    Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
    Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
    Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
    The Raven Cycle Series by Maggie Stiefvater
    Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
    Me, the Missing and the Dead by Jenny Valentine

    Thanks to each of these authors for sharing their imaginings and for the time and effort they devoted to bring these characters and their stories to life. <3

    • BEKA COOPER! I loved everything Tamora Pierce as a kid, but the Provost’s Dog trilogy is head-and-shoulders the best of the lot.

      • I was scrolling through just to make sure Tamora Pierce was in here, because she’s TAMORA PIERCE and my life would … just not be the same if it weren’t for her books. I still love them, even as an adult. I mean, she was the first one to really have a crossdressing woman taking up a ‘manly’ job and kicking ass, and dealing with her own insecurities in a smart and authentic way. Love those books, three cheers hurrah!

        Oh and I went to read the Dilbert thing and that shit is scaaaary. Do men really think we don’t care if they die? That women feel men are expendable, whereas women and children are not? Egads. And the part where the Dilbert guy insinuates that the terrorists are a bunch of sexually frustrated, hormonal teenagers and that the best way to convince them not to blow people up is to “give them access to women” is … wow. Just wow. If it wasn’t so scary, I’d be laughing because that is the biggest load of honkey I have ever heard. “Just throw some vaginas at them” doesn’t seem to be a very practical solution to any kind of global problem, much less terrorism. And ‘inadequate levels of jizzing and female hugs’ doesn’t seem like a ‘normal’ reason to blow people up. Sorry.

        Seriously, I have to go take a shower now, because, ew. ‘Access to’ which ‘women,’ exactly? Ew, ew, gross, gross.

  13. OUT by Laura Preble is a well-written and compassionate, but “morally complicated” YA dystopian novel that takes place in a world where homosexuality is the norm (they are the “parallels”) and the heterosexuals (the “perpendiculars” or “perps”) are persecuted by society and become outcasts and of course concerns the love story between a boy and a girl who choose to love in the face of society’s mores. By taking our current situation and turning it on its head, it shows the reader the importance of empathy, grace, and compassion. I really liked this novel!

  14. The Giver by Lois Lowry immediately springs to mind, featuring a teen protagonist who questions social norms. Then The Abhorsen series, by Garth Nix, with two strong willed young women as the major protagonists.

  15. Sarah Rees Brennan’s Unspoken trilogy (Unspoken, Untold, Unmade) is a brilliant example of characters struggling to reconcile their moral compasses with those of the world around them, both in their particular town and in the greater world. All her books and stories feature characters with all sorts of dimensions; she isn’t afraid to show them making bad choices or doing morally/ethically questionable things in the course of their stories.

  16. The Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr. A wonderful faerie fantasy series that doesn’t shy away from serious issues. It’s wonderful to see fantasy dealing with gender in an honest way. I really appreciated reading a series that addresses consent in a straightforward and interesting way, and doesn’t romanticize unhealthy relationships. The magic is also way cool – I particularly liked the tattoo magic in Ink Exchange.

  17. Thank you to Daniel Jose Older for Sierra in SHADOWSHAPER.

    Tougher-than-nails-kinder-than-a-kitten, cajoling the reader to dive in and hang with her and the vibrant, charismatic, tightly-knit crew that beautify their Brooklyn with gorgeous graffiti art and energetic, enchanting rap battles, I wanted to be her when I was growing up and I still want to be her now, as a full grown adult.

    Mr. Older artfully unravels urban spirituality lore in a mesmerizing mystery that feels fascinatingly fresh, crisply colorful and invigorating; while simultaneously seeming familiar, somewhat nostalgic. The dazzling dialogue amuses and delights. Initially, Shadowshapers can be gobbled up….an indulgent, pleasure-filled immersion. Soon, though, subtle layers leap into the reader, like spirits into shadowshapers’ murals, conveying hope, inspiration and a calming, centering of the soul.

  18. Holly Black’s TITHE and Malinda Lo’s ASH spring to mind, but earliest on my own YAish reading was Joan Aiken with the series that starts with THE WOLVES OF WILLOUGHBY CHASE. Christopher Barzak’s ONE FOR SORROW is also definitely worth a read. Nnedi Okorafor’s YA books, Corinne Duyvis, Laura Lam and Libba Bray have all written recent titles I’ve enjoyed.

  19. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare (and her Infernal Devices series) are incredible. I never wanted the series to end 🙂

  20. OK – I didn’t know anything about this storm before reading Chuck’s post, so I checked out the interview with Bergstrom and Victoria Aveyard’s blog. In online discussions/debates (whatever you want to call them), it’s important to look at the actualities of what’s being said and what is being inferred.
    The arguments presented against Bergstrom’s PoV seem to distill out as the following:
    – he’s a debut author and allegedly displays arrogance regarding his explanation of why his book is different to existing YA titles.
    – he caused offence (or his publisher/agent did) by presenting a tagline about a girl who transforms herself from a bullied, under-confident teenager (possibly overweight?) to a confident, resilient young woman. This, Bergstrom says, sets her apart from other female characters/protagonists he has seen or read about (unspecified).
    – he’s accused of looking down on established YA authors and ‘shitting’ in their domain, and may be getting carried away with his overnight success which is seen to be a result of privilege rather than talent.
    – he’s accused of being ‘anti-genre fiction’ – especially fantasy.

    So here’s some observations (based on these two online sources only):

    – Bergstrom singles out one aspect of Hunger Games (children killing other children) in response to those who would criticise his work for its violent content. He doesn’t say that Suzanne Collin’s book hasn’t any literary worth, nor does he say that this is the only dimension that exists in that story. He merely makes a comparison to illustrate how hypocritical some censors can be.
    – At no point do I see him making an argument or even an implied criticism against female YA authors, yet most if not all forum posts about existing ‘morally ambiguous’ fiction (by female authors) seem to make out that he’s a misogynist.
    – I scoured the text to see if I could find any reference to him extolling the virtues of being white and male. I couldn’t find any. It has to be said he is quite unusual (although, not exclusively so) in that he is a male author writing a story from the PoV of a strong female character.
    – I couldn’t find an example of a comment where anyone had actually read ‘The cruelty.’ Is it even out yet? I could only find one copy available on the UK Amazon site. Maybe we ought to reserve criticism about its value as a book until we’ve read the story. In addition, we’d then have an informed position to judge whether it is indeed different from other YA works.
    – I’m at a loss to understand how portraying a girl who has a character arc moving from a down-trodden teenager to a physically and mentally stronger individual is reprehensible.
    – finally, I tried my best to conflate any of Bergstrom’s comments with a hate-filled, prejudiced newbie. I have to admit I was stumped.

    Now, it may well be that Bergstrom does have a limited reading of contemporary YA titles. He may even be an arrogant chauvinist, but I wouldn’t be able to infer that from the interview quoted.
    Perhaps we better give him the right of reply – a chance to clarify?

    • Finally some reasonable thoughts about this whole thing. You know nothing about this guy except for a few quotes from one interview and a page from his book (which no one has read), but you’re all ready to go burn down his house. If you don’t like him getting a huge deal, go write a better book.

      • I’m genuinely curious about what is fuelling this debate, but I need more information. There is a claim here that ‘privileged’ men are a problem in YA authorship. Apart from Bergstrom, who else is guilty? Btw, Interesting word you have coined there – ‘mansplain’ – as a man trying to explain his opinion, am I supposed to feel insulted? Do I have permission to posit an equal but opposite term – ‘womansplain?’ Or would that be seen as sexist?

    • Actually, many people (including myself) have read at least part of the book. The first chapter is online. On page 14, his main character basically insults the whole YA genre, noting that “they’re all the same” and calling them “cheesy,” while taking a specific shot at Hunger Games. Putting that aside for a moment, judging by this sample chapter, I’d say he’d be wise to study some of the YA stars he is so quick to minimize.

      • I see. People are getting upset about a traumatised fictional teenage character in a book giving her opinion about YA stories which may or may not change as part of her character arc? This opens things out a little. Are authors speaking their minds through their characters? Should they inculcate or preach to their readership? Or should works of genre fiction be treated as they are – a form of entertainment which resonate with some people but not others? Clearly, some people like it (dare I say most?) judging by the other reviews posted on goodreads.

        • Don’t you know that you are not allowed to criticize The Hunger Games?

          Again, no one that I’ve seen who is freaking out about this whole thing has either a) read the whole book (not just the sample chapter) or b) knows anything about this author.

          It’s an interview trying to pump up the book. What do you want him to say? “I feel like this book is pretty much the same as the rest of the genre, but please buy it!” Give me a break.

  21. Let’s see … all things Tamora Pierce, but especially the Provost’s Dog series. Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching books. And The Book Thief! I read that on one work trip despite pulling 12+ hour shifts.

  22. Patrick Ness’s books have great diverse characters leading complicated lives and yes, making morally-complex choices. Ness treats young people -whether his characters or his readers- as real people with experiences and feelings no less valid or worthy than those of adults. MORE THAN THIS in particular resonated with me, and I’m a 35 year-old woman.
    p.s. Thank YOU for your books and your posts here, this one compelled me to swallow my shyness and post for the 1st time!

  23. This is a super-old book, but this speaks to Chuck’s discussion on Legacy, and those who came before us: MR. AND MRS. BO JO JONES by Ann Head. Recently re-read it, and it holds up. Teen pregnancy and marriage; pressure from families; feelings by a young female she’s forced to have because she’s catapulted into a more adult life; a young man working hard at being a better man. Great read.

  24. Recommendations on my side go to Marion G Harmon’s Wearing the Cape series, which is YA Superhero.

    The thing is, as a middle aged white guy who makes most of his living on YA, I can’t say I’m eager to go breaking any new ground. There is plenty of fertile soil here. The thing that I’ve noticed about every truly GOOD story is not that it goes out of its way to do things differently, but that the author is concentrating on telling the story well. And no, this dude isn’t breaking anything LIKE new ground here. Oh, dumpy girl becomes bad ass warrior chick. So new it has its own page on TVTropes.

    Oh, yay! What would we do if it weren’t for this guy coming along to single handedly tell me how to write female characters. So this is what mansplaining feels like from the other side.

  25. Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy is wonderful, and should definitely be read by as many people as possible.

    Also, Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy, and the follow up Six of Crows.

  26. Rachel Hawkins’s books, Rebel Belle, Miss Mayhem, and her Hex Hall series are amazing. They’re the perfect example of female protags who kick butt and relate to teenage girls. Yes, they like pink. Yeah, they don’t take bs from people. They are THEMSELVES and totally rock.

    I’ve got immense respect for Sarah J. Maas. Her books are ALSO AMAZING and GO READ THEM.

    Furthermore, Uprooted by Naomi Novik is a YA book I will forever hold dear in my heart. Her writing sucks you into the world she’s made, so set aside a few hours for beautiful, life-changing writing.

    All my love and thanks go to the YA women and men who respect each other to create a community of support and love.

  27. Mike Ness of Social Distortion once described his band as not wanting to be a bunch of guys with shaved heads screaming, which at the time struck me as throwing shade on Minor Threat and possibly Black Flag (Rollins was bald when he first joined the band). That’s his opinion, but it pissed me off because Social D were always a second rate bad rock band, where Black Flag and Minor Threat were both amazing bands who fundamentally changed the genre they worked in (even if Minor Threat were basically a Bad Brains tribute band).

    Point being you shouldn’t throw shade and shit where you eat, but also, people have their opinions so who gives a shit? Also, YA isn’t exactly an unimpeachable genre. There is a lot to criticize about it, and it is full of tropes and cliches and plot contrivances that are run into the ground, books that are fourth-rate copies of more successful franchises (you aren’t going to believe this but that orphan kid? He is actually the only one that can save the universe. Turns out his dead parents were powerful wizards. Who coulda guessed?)

    Then there is this:

    • WOW!! Thank you so much for the link – I’ve now got five more books in my queue and the Cindy Pon book I just started is amazing so far. There’s a bunch of stuff running around in my head about search engine filter bubbles and so on, but for now I’ll just say thanks for giving me a go-to place for more great writing. Cheers!

  28. Rainbow Rowell has already been mentioned more than once, but I have to mention her again. I particularly loved Carry On, about two (male) wizards who are kinda in love but also kinda have to kill each other. IMO, it was plenty complex. And beautiful.

  29. In fact, Chuck, I’d love to see you use your huge platform to highlight marginalized authors more often. Otherwise, it’s just us fighting for the same recognition again and again and again (the same problem mentioned in your post, but in a different way).

  30. For some great Morally Complicated YA, check out Kresley Cole’s “Poison Princess” series & anything ever written by Sara J. Maas.

  31. Melina Marchetta’s The Lumatere Chronicles are really good in the fantasy genre, and I have not read her other works (Jellicoe Road, etc.) but they have been given high praise. Awesome post! 🙂

  32. Woah. I read his original interview, and, while I don’t interpret what he said as misogynistic, there is definitely an attitude similar to a being who’s not from round this planet dropping down from the heavens and crying “Behold, Earthlings, I bring you an entirely new kind of story, the likes of which has never before been attempted by your YA writers!”

    In these modern times I think it is extremely arrogant for ANY author of ANY genre to claim they’re doing something completely new that’s never been done before. Have they not SEEN how much self-published stuff is out there? Dinosaur Porn is an actual genre now – TREE PORN IS AN ACTUAL GENRE. Creating something that no-one else on the planet ever has? NO chance, Chutney!

    Thank you for your wise words, Chuck. Please, for the good of Authorkind, you must clone yourself and post those clones in every dark and dodgy corner of the internet, like Star Wars troopers. Can that be arranged somehow? We need more people who think like you!

    And in the spirit of recommending great indie women writers… well, P.J. Fox writes sci-fi and paranormal fantasy/romance stories – not strictly YA, but there’s nothing to stop YAs reading them. I thoroughly enjoyed her Black Prince series, and will soon be embarking on the House of Light and Shadow series too.

  33. Chuck, you post needs a trigger warning: Envy. Unknown, yet well-paid white male writer is infringing on territory I have staked out for myself: White male writer of YA that features non-white, non-male protags.

    His interview was not what you portray it to be. I read it. Pretty harmless. next thing you know, you’ll be associating him with the Puppies.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  34. As far as morally complicated YA novels with female protaganists, has anyone read Diane Duane’s Young Wizard series? This to me is an amazing YA novel with a realistic female protagnist and alot of moral questions as the books go on…my favorite YA books ever also.

  35. I’d like to recommend ‘House of the Scorpion’ by Nancy Farmer.

    This book was one of the most influential books of my young life. It talked about finding out who you were in the grand scheme of things and becoming your own person even when everything around you was saying not to. It’s one of the permanent guests on my bookshelf and is the main book that made me love YA fiction as much as I do 🙂

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