1. "Fat" Characters Who Aren't Bullies
I've left fat in quotations because even characters who are merely described as having curves are referred to as fat in reviews. Do you realize how pervasive this stereotype is? I'm not sure it appears as frequently in YA books as it does in children's/MG books, but even still, YA needs more characters who are not just thin (or whose body isn't described) and who are NOT mean (for an example, Bridge to Terabithia). I remember that when I first read Twilight in high school and saw that Bella was 110 pounds and worrying about whether Edward could carry her, I was stunned, and it made me feel even more self-conscious. I'm not going to pretend that I don't have issues with weight perception, but I still think that's something that could be easily changed in books. (Great recent example of a great "fat" character: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell!)
2. Girls Who Are Bold
A lot of the books with girl protagonists seem to have plot lines where girls are encouraged to seek what they need and want in order to better their worlds / to fix their problems.... and yet they are not encouraged to be the bold one in their relationships? I don't know why that is. I would really like to read more about girls who make that first step in the romance that's portrayed.
I am so tired of this. Something readers mentioned in the discussion on New Adult books is that a lot of them seem to involve an innocent girl or one who has limited sexual experience / who hasn't enjoyed sex yet until she meets the romantic interest. The same thing usually happens in YA too. Can we please have some girls who are not "pure?" Some of them who are also not slammed as sluts for that?
4. More Diversity
Look at the image above. Obviously some of these things are debatable (Hermione with low self-esteem? Not sure I got that feeling), but it's still alarming that so many of these popular books have a lot of similarities in how they portray their main characters. Not only alarming; it's stifling. I want to read about other experiences. I want to read about bolder girls. C'mon now.
5. Books Which Portray Science and Mental Illness Better
You can expect some discussion posts on these two topics in the future.
Do any of these irritate you? What do you want to see more of in YA lit?