Though I think books are (thankfully) becoming much more inclusive, there are still tons of things I’d like to see represented more. Most of them seem to be little things, but they can actually be really important. Books shape the way we see the world and what we see as normal, so perpetuating certain ideas through books can be damaging. So, here is my list of things I wish were representing more or were more normal in books.
Taking medication for mental illness/actually treating mental illness
I’ve talked before about the way medication for mental illnesses is treated, especially in YA. But I wish that taking medication or going to therapy was more normal. It doesn’t even have to be the focal point of the story, but the character can just mention their meds or therapist and have it not be a big deal.
Mental illness where the point of the story isn’t the person dealing with mental illness, more just that they have it and deal with it but the plot isn’t centred around it.
Similar to the one above, but I just wish that more characters had mental illnesses as just a part of their character. Like, this is my character, she’s 18, plays baseball, deals with depression, has two younger siblings, and wants to study journalism is university but can’t decide which school to go to. Not every person with mental illness has to go through an epic story of self-discovery to learn how to deal with it. They can just have it and focus on other aspects.
Diversity is luckily becoming a more popular thing in YA which is great. But there are still few books (I find) that have biracial couples. That being said, I can think of three I’ve read in the last year. But still! I think it’s something that needs to be portrayed more in YA books.
Parents that are actually involved
So many people have talked about the lack of parents in YA books especially, and I totally agree. I know it’s convenient to not have parents, or to have parents that aren’t overbearing, but it’s honestly not realistic. I wish more books had parents that were actually involved in their children’s lives and had good relationships with their kids.
Religion is an important thing in a person’s life but the story isn’t about their religion
Similar(ish) to the mental illness one. But I wish more books talked about religion as just a part of the character’s lives. Religion is a big part of so many people’s lives and I feel like it tends to be overlooked in YA, or it’s the sole focus of the book.
Good, accurate female friendships in YA are still few and far between. So many books still play into girl-on-girl hate, or girls insisting they’re ~not like other girls~ which is such BS. I just wish there were more healthy female friendships. My one friend group that is primarily girls in the most loving, supportive group of people I could ever hope for. I just wish those types of friendships were more prevalent in YA books.
Again, books are becoming way more diverse and including way more sexualities. But ace representation is still rare, even in the LGBTQ+ space. I wish there were more books with ace characters, and that focused on being ace.
So those are the things I wish were represented more in books! What are your thoughts? Do you agree with any of them? Disagree? Have anything else you wish was represented? Let me know!
Thanks for reading! xx