Over the past year or so, I’ve examined diversity in the Publishers Weekly bestsellers (here’s 2012 and here’s 2013) as well as the Best Fiction for Young Adults (here’s 2013, here’s 2014). One list I haven’t looked at until now is the New York Times bestseller lists for young adult books.
My conclusions? There’s nothing really surprising about the diversity on the New York Times bestseller lists for young adult books. They tell the same story that Publishers Weekly does, but with a slightly different sample: There isn’t much diversity.
Here’s my latest number crunching on diversity. I reread the post this morning and realized that I sound rather dour, but I guess that’s the result of repeated diversity counts that show diversity hovering around 15%. I suppose 15% isn’t as terrible as it could be, but it’s disheartening because some of the books in that 15% are really problematic when it comes to representation. And there are no black or Latino main characters, unless you count Every Day by David Levithan as all races.
The percentage of books with LGBT main characters is closer to what people believe is the percentage of LGBT people in the US, but it still depresses me because among the YA bestsellers (single title list), only one title (Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce) has a queer girl in it, and she’s one of three POV characters (from what I can tell from my research; I haven’t read the book). Among the series, there are no books with a lesbian main character, although Pretty Little Liars continues to represent with its bisexual character Emily, which may or may not be a positive thing depending on whether you think of her as Emily from the book series, or Emily from the TV series.
Anyway. I don’t think I’m going to be doing much of this counting anymore. It doesn’t show much beyond the fact that bestsellers are predominantly white and straight, which we all knew. I’m trying to see it as motivation to keep writing, as opposed to depressing statistics about how what I’m writing is hard to sell to the masses.
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Well there goes the rest of my life.
Looking for some sneak peeks from THE TAKING? Here are a list of excerpts (in orders):
Excerpt from the Prologue: Debra Driza during YA Scavenger Hunt
Chapter One excerpts:
Take one of the following ways to die, taken from “Final Exits” by Michael Largo and write a quick piece on it. Don’t forget to tag it #roadpaved so I can read your lovely creativity. Also, pick up the book because it has been helpful to me in ways you wouldn’t want to know (Body counts. It…