It’s hard to believe, but we’re already up to “episode seven” at Colleen Mondor’s What a Girl Wants. This time around, we’re talking about class and how it is or isn’t represented in YA lit. Do you think novels about shoe-hungry heiresses are a waste of time or a harmless indulgence? Is poverty ignored, romanticized, or used to make characters more exotic? Stop by and read the fabulous responses; here’s a sample of Kekla Magoon’s answer (I’ll be reviewing her novel soon):
Economic hardship is a complicated animal, too. For 99% of folks, carefree wealth is a total fantasy, and there’s nothing at all wrong with exploring and embracing that in fiction. Yes, it’s an escape, or a part of the so-called American dream. It only becomes problematic when teens stop treating it as fantasy, and start trying to live up to it, which often times ends in despair. So it’s also of value to show the real, grittier side of all that glamor: what happens when you don’t have the money. All of us who write contemporary, non-fantasy fiction need to make an effort to be aware of economic issues, and try to populate our books with a range of kids. Not that it has to come out in detail in every book, but these issues are always present in life, so why not in fiction? One friend’s parents often make more than her best friend’s (or simply manage their spending money differently), so Girl A can go to camp while her friend can’t, or she can buy lunch while her friend brings a paper bag. Financial complications don’t have to BE the story, but they shouldn’t be ignored.”
Speaking of series, Writers Against Racism is up and running again; stop by and read Brent Hartinger’s opinion about literature and understanding.