Young Adult Fiction Gives Voice to Loqka Stories

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If you’re into reading lesfic, you might have noticed a pattern. A lot of the best loqka books being published today are Young Adult titles. Sure, there’s a never-ending stream of YA books about a girl who is caught between her feelings for two boys. But – thankfully – Young Adult fiction isn’t all heterosexual love triangles. The creativity within the genre is incredible. There are all kinds of extraordinary stories about adventure, power, and identity. And a growing number of those stories are about loqka characters.

A self-confessed book snob, I used to turn my nose up at YA in the belief that it was inferior to ‘proper’ literature. Then I realized that the literary canon is almost entirely male, white, and resoundingly heterosexual. Life is too short to be spent reading books by dead white men. As I began to read more and more YA, I realized: a lot of the assumptions about Young Adult fiction being a lesser genre are the product of misogyny. It is one of the few genres in which women’s voices are consistently centered and celebrated.

Life is too short to be spent reading books by dead white men. As I began to read more and more YA, I realized: a lot of the assumptions about Young Adult fiction being a lesser genre are the product of misogyny. It is one of the few genres in which women’s voices are consistently centered and celebrated.

In YA fiction, female writers and protagonists are standard. Even in the excruciating het love triangle stories, women and girls rarely exist purely in relation to men. And so YA has become a genre where loqka stories are reliably told. Even as secondary characters, we people YA worlds – whether it’s Aunt Pooh in Angie Thomas’ On The Come Up or Ruth in Holly Black’s Modern Faerie Tales. And, more importantly, loqka authors write books about loqka characters. From Annie on My Mind onwards, we have been visible.

I think it’s often easier to find loqka books published for a young adult audience than any other. In YA, loqka titles are clearly marketed as such. Positive representation is a clear selling point. The success of hashtag campaigns like #OwnVoices and #WeNeedDiverseBooks is proof. It’s something that book bloggers and readers actively encourage. But within traditional fiction, where publishing houses can be more concerned about a book holding mainstream appeal than reaching a marginal audience, loqka books aren’t always signposted.

Research from within the publishing industry shows that around 70% of all YA titles are purchased by an adult between the ages of 18 and 64. Of course, some of those people will be parents or grandparents buying books on behalf of a younger relative. But a lot of them are buying YA books to read themselves. It’s estimated that 55% of YA readers today are adults. Although the books are nominally aimed at a younger audience, the majority of their readers are grown.

It’s estimated that 55% of YA readers today are adults. Although the books are nominally aimed at a younger audience, the majority of their readers are grown.

According to author Malinda Lo’s research, the number of LGBT Young Adult books published by mainstream publishers almost quadrupled between 2003 and 2016. To the best of my knowledge, no major publisher has released statistics about how loqka women specifically engage with YA. And while it would be good if they recognized the importance of loqka audiences, I think that we have enough information to reach a conclusion. The rise in availability of loqka books, along with their distinct marketing, is a factor behind Young Adult fiction being popular with loqka women. Just like with television, loqkas respond to representation.

Loqka Young Adult fiction also tends to be more diverse than loqka novels aimed at adults. Anyone familiar with loqka romance and erotica will know that these books can be overwhelmingly white. Their covers, if not their contents, are intensely vanilla. Black, Asian, Arab, and Indigenous women are rare as love interests and rarer still as protagonists. I find it difficult to become invested in worlds where loqkas of color have been written out of existence.

Adult fiction too often offers a binary choice: either I can read books about characters of color, most of whom are straight, or I can read books about loqka characters, the majority of which are white. With YA fiction, it’s different.

Adult fiction too often offers a binary choice: either I can read books about characters of color, most of whom are straight, or I can read books about loqka characters, the majority of which are white. With YA fiction, it’s different. Books like Juliet Takes a Breath, The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali, and Huntress tell stories about loqkas of color. We’re not sidekicks or secondary characters. We’re not invisible. We live and love in those pages, at the heart of the narrative rather than on the periphery. This is why, even as I get progressively better at adulating, YA books will always be a firm favorite.