Last week we discussed settings that we'd like to see more of in YA. This week: characters! There are some types of protagonists that are very common in YA these days. There's the kick-butt heroine in fantasy novels, the geek who gets dissed by all the 'cool kids' in contemporary, and the girl who just can't stay away from that bad boy who might be a vampire or werewolf in paranormal. But what are some character traits or qualities you think are missing?
Here are a few to start things off:
- Tall people. I am decidedly taller than average (um, I'm about 6', actually) and I would love to see more YA novels where the protagonist is tall and has to deal with the problems of living in a world made for people of average height. (Trust me, there are some definite disadvantages. Like finding jeans that are long enough, and dealing with extremely cramped legs in buses and airplanes.)
- People of color, particularly in genres outside of contemporary. It would be great to have more protagonists of Asian or African background, for instance, in fantasy, sci-fi, and dystopian novels. I think this is becoming a little more common (for instance, Silver Phoenix springs to mind) but they are still few and far between.
- Characters with fairly functional families and close relationships with their parents. I've seen this brought up by other bloggers and I have to say I agree - not every teen has a family that is wildly dysfunctional! If you went by contemporary YA, though, you'd think that it was normal to have either daily confrontations with your parents or ones who never appeared involved in your life at all.
- Individuals who stutter or have some kind of speech impediment. It's rare to have a protagonist who stutters, particularly if that is not the 'point' of the book but rather just a trait of the character. But hey, in real life some people stutter!
|The King of England stuttered! (I haven't seen this movie yet, but I want to).|