Bookish

Realistic Teenagers in YA: What I Want to See

realistic teenagers.jpgPuberty. It’s something we all go through. It’s normal. So why isn’t it talked about in YA? Why are the teenagers we read about not going through the same changes we’ve gone through or are still going through? This is something I’ve been thinking about.

I’ve been reading a lot of fantasy and dystopian YA lately and something I’ve noticed is that these characters that range anywhere from 15-18 years old, aren’t dealing with changes in their bodies. Why aren’t female protagonists getting their periods? Why aren’t male protagonists voices breaking? Why aren’t these characters going through these changes?

I love YA, it’s my favourite genre and you can see why in my Why I Love YA post. But I want to see realistic teenagers in the books I read. I want to see young women getting their periods because it’s normal. I want to see teenagers dealing with acne and voice changes and growth. We have all been through puberty and I don’t understand why it’s not discussed in popular YA. We see teenagers who are insecure about their bodies and appearances which is normal, but why is that often as far as it goes?

From the top of my head, I can’t recall a book I read in which the man character dealt with any of those things. I think the times I have seen periods discussed in YA it’s relating to pregnancy which is something I don’t really understand. YA is pretty open about sex and sexuality and mental illness and drugs and alcohol, so why does it seem like puberty is taboo? 

One of the reasons I love YA is that it’s pretty realistic when it comes to the things that happen to teenagers, but the body changes teenagers go through aren’t spoken about. I want the teenagers I read about to be realistic. Puberty is a part of life we all go through, we all handle it in different ways and I want to see it spoken about or at least mentioned in YA.

This isn’t so much as a discussion as it is me ranting so I’ll probably end up deleting this post later. But I want to know your thoughts.

what do you think

Comment below your thoughts on realistic teenagers in YA, let’s chat!

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14 thoughts on “Realistic Teenagers in YA: What I Want to See

  1. This is such an interesting discussion post! I’ve thought about the lack of periods in young adult novels before. Mainly, I wonder how girls/women deal with it if they’re stranded on this fantasy land for months on end. I suppose it would be more complicated to explain and might take away from the main point of the story, but I think that it would make a lot of young adult fiction even more relatable.

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  2. Great post! I totally agree with you on not seeing some realistic features in YA, & I’m really hoping this year authors will maybe pick up on those details & make YA a little more relatable & truthful to teenagers today. I’m sure a lot of people would appreciate it…

    -Jess @jbelkbooks

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  3. This is SO true! I can’t tell you the number of times I was waiting for Katniss to mention her period in the Hunger Games. Like, “This bad thing is happening. This bad thing is happening. And to top it all off, I’m on my stupid period.”

    It doesn’t need to be made into a whole song and dance, but I wish authors would lend a few words to mention their characters have to go to the bathroom and shower and get their period.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree, it should be a lot more reflected in YA than it is because it would be such a great help to teens. However, if you’re looking for something to read that discusses puberty I’d suggest the Girls in Love series by Jacqueline Wilson (particularly Girls Under Pressure, which is all about body image) and Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume, which is all about a group of girls who basically have a club to discuss puberty and are all waiting to get their period and to see who grows boobs first. They are both for more of a preteen/early teen audience but are very good.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am a big reader of YA and I agree to everything you said! But once in a while I’d like to come out of my comfort zone and try books in different genre. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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