I. The message
A. Was the message not handled that much? It can feel like we are told what we and the character should get out of the story. I wonder if the way that there was traveling from spot to spot got in the way of honing in on the message.
B. I am noticing this trend of young adult novels that feel like a bunch of events with messages that either are not being focused in at all or messages that barely are there. Either way the lesson is tacked on in the end.
C. What I took away: is examining motivation in your art/career-putting people as motivation makes your art/career dictated by people. There is much value in making your career about yourself and not others.
A. Are a lot stories not developing or giving enough room to their conflicts? Are they avoiding drama to give cleaner/easier stories and characters? Is it because it is a romance so we do not want to go too hard/heavy?
B. Done well- Evie lack of trust /keeping a distance- we understand why and see it in story. They set up good conflicts that were not super present and got wrapped up quickly at the end.
C. It rushed the conclusion and felt the message (loving yourself/finding inner validation) wasn’t processed well (like many contemporaries honestly).
D. No heavy racial discussion or anything.
E. Not a lot of drama -pro: it is not heavy drama and full of negative stuff. con: a lot of the issues are underdeveloped (many stories suffer from this).
II. Evie & unlikeable (Black) girl characters
Evie- there is a weird dislike of “unlikeable” or not nice girl characters.
A. Personally, I usually like the ones they say are unlikeable especially when talking about Black girls.
B. Most of time I don’t realize they are unlikeable.
C. Maybe I am not bothered by her selfishness because I get her. I generally understand why these “unlikeable” characters are the way they are. I definitely think her grandmother and parents are like at the top of the list of why she is the way she is (among the betrayal at the beginning of the novel). She has parents who are absent, a grandmother who can disappear without warning, and someone close who betrayed her.
D. There is a conversation/discourse about specifically “unlikeable” Black girls in young adult that needs to be put more out there.
III. Black love interest & Black guy representation:
A. Black guy who is shy and protective of lead (Evie).
B. I’m overall liking the increase of soft/shy/not as hard Black guys in ya (especially love interests). It is a positive to broaden Black dude representation since there is a trend of the tough Black guy love interest in ya.
IV. Black and brown characters at center.
A. All or at least a large majority of the characters are Black and brown.
B. Casually has Blackness in forefront- it is not done in a way that is stereotypical (been feeling like Blackness is being diluted into superficial markers. The way Blackness is portrayed can feel like a checklist in some of these books).
D. It can feel like it is becoming more and more of an anomaly to have majority Black spaces in ya.
V. Emotional Enjoyment
I was disappointed since emotionally I did not enjoy this as much as I feel I should have.
It would be interesting to see an increase in ya with Black (and brown) characters that are realistic contemporary/plain contemporary not be exclusively romance or race based.