In the last few months, I’ve read the following young adults novels. These books all featured complex, interesting characters (often girls or young women) and subtle, morally complex themes.
It was not hard to find these novels. They are not hiding from white advertising dudes*, or anyone else. They are readily available in stores and online. Many of them came to my attention because they were featured prominently on websites or on end caps in book stores. I did not require a special ops mission or a deep cover infiltration of Sekrit Grrls Lairs to find them. The only special effort it took for me to discover these amazing books was to possess the awareness of a hedgehog†.
This is not an exhaustive list. It’s just books I’ve read that I can find by glancing around my room as I sit here at my desk. There are many more.
- Lock and Mori by Heather Petty
- All the Rage by Courtney Summers
- The Chemical Garden Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano. (Note, I still have Sever, third book in the trilogy on my TBR pile.)
- Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics
- Mr. Samuel’s Penny by Treva Hall Melvin
- Chaos Theory by M. Evonne Dobson
- Nothing Left to Burn by Patty Blount
- Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier
- The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
As I said, just a few. Every damn one of them is a must-read if you ask me. All are complex, challenging, harrowing, often unexpectedly funny, and all deeply moving. The themes and topics range from rape culture to murder to teen suicide to racism to mental illness to human trafficking and sexual slavery. These are stories about survival, about finding strength in unexpected places, about need, about dying hope, about friendship and failed relationships. A not uncommon theme is the way adults—especially men—so often fail, exploit, or abuse children—especially girls. Morally complicated is where these books start.
So Scott Bergstrom can fuck right off.
*I’m kind of an advertising dude, in that I have worked on the edges of advertising and marketing for most of my life. I assure you, this is a gross industry filled with soulless people. Pile privileged white dudery on top of that and what you get is truly the worst.
†Hedgehogs are adorbs.