I thought it would be fun to talk about what I as a reader would like to see more of in Young Adult (and Middle Grade) books.
Creative Special Schools or Camps
I’m a total sucker for books involving special schools or camps. Normals schools/camps like you and I would have gone to can be a bit boring but special ones are an extra level of fun (and world building) for me. Examples of special schools/camps? Hogwarts is all about teaching young wizards/witches magic, Camp Half-Blood teaches demi-gods skills they need to stay alive, the school in Storybound has characters taking classes to teach them skills they need to be the type of character they are, Ever After High helps students prepare for their destinies, and the list goes on.
I’d like to see more schools/camps like that but I would love to see more creative ideas as well. School to be an assassin? Spyology homework? Flying lessons after you’re done with homework? You get the idea. There are tons of ideas out there.
Historical Fiction Focusing On Lesser Known Events
Historical Fiction does a pretty good job of exploring well known time periods or events. That’s why there are many books around World War II, World War I, American Revolution, etc. Most people are at least a little bit familiar with those time periods/events so it’s easy enough to capture their attention with a book. I would love to see more books set in time periods or based on events I don’t know or don’t know well.
A good example is “In The Shadow of Blackbirds” by Cat Winters (yes, it’s a bit paranormally but we’re ignoring that for now). It has two big events going on for it: World War I and the Spanish influenza. I knew of the Spanish influenza but didn’t know much about it. Winters did a great job of setting the tone of the book and showing how people were coping with the influenza. Basically it was a nice little history lesson while telling an enjoyable story.
You have probably heard of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign by now. It’s a movement asking for more diversity in the books out there. I’d like to see more diversity in two ways. One way is the ‘point’ of the book is to explore or look at this different viewpoint. For example, “Inside Out & Back Again” by Thanhha Lai is about a Vietnamese family moving from Vietnam to America and trying to get adjusted here. We learn a bit about Vietnamese culture and we see how the family learns about American culture while trying to keep their old culture alive.
The other way is to tell an engaging story but have the protagonist or other characters be of a different viewpoint like “More Than This” by Patrick Ness. The story is more about Seth trying to figure out what happened to him and where he is more than it is about his sexuality.
What do you want to see more of in your books?
I’m talking about What I Want To See Less Of over here.
Future installments of What I Want to See More Of are here.