Or, my original title: Why Do Characters In YA All Have To Be 100% Super Fucking Attractive? A Rant Brought To You By A Cassandra Clare Book! YAY!
If you guys follow me on Goodreads (which you totally should, btw) you might have seen that I have been reading Cassandra Clare’s Tales From The Shadowhunter Academy and complaining about a certain aspect of Cassie’s characters that was really getting on my nerves this time around. Have you guys guessed what that aspect is yet? If you read the title, you definitely did: the attractiveness of the characters! And how that is the most important trait about any of them.
Any given character is really stunning/beautiful/etc first and foremost and anything else is just secondary. Isabelle is a stunning woman before she is a kickass shadowhunter. Same goes for George and other characters. I get it, they are beautiful – you don’t have to point this out every time someone appears on the page. I got it after the first ten mentions.
If you have read any or all of Cassie’s books you probably know what I’m talking about. But Cassie definitely isn’t the only Young Adult author who puts such importance on her characters’ appearances. Sarah J. Maas is definitely on that list too. Not that I mind. But it still annoys me to no end when an author continues to hit me over the head with the attractiveness of their characters.
I feel like its quite difficult to find protagonists in Young Adult literature that aren’t thin, with beautiful eyes, full lips and great hair – and of course, they don’t know about their good looks. What would YA be without the (mostly) female protagonist who doesn’t know she’s beautiful (do you have One Direction’s What Makes You Beautiful stuck in your head yet?).
The majority of people don’t look like that. We’re not all thin. Not all of us have great hair or skin. We have ‘imperfections’. I want to see that reflected in the books I read too! I know that both Leigh Bardugo and Becky Albertalli have fat girls as part of their main cast of characters (Nina in Six Of Crows, Nim in Wonder Woman: Warbringer and Molly in The Upside Of Unrequited) (those are just off the top of my head) and I truly appreciate this. More than you might think. It’s fantastic seeing yourself reflected in the media you consume!
If I would get my pick, I would love seeing more fat protagonists in Young Adult literature. I want to see reality reflected more often and accurate in the books that are being published – and this obviously goes beyond just wanting to see people that aren’t all thin! Society is racially diverse, part of a broad spectrum of sexualities and gender identities. I want to see more of that too. Definitely. It’s just not the main point of this blog post, please excuse that I don’t mention them more.
Obviously, I understand that there are probably many more books out there featuring fat main characters that I haven’t found yet – or heard about yet. I know that Dumplin also features a fat main character. But if you guys have any recommendations for great books with fat characters, please share them! I would love to add more of them to my TBR!
How often do you guys find yourselves reading a book and wondering why on earth every character has to be so attractive? Do you ever want to go Hulk on a book because of it? Because I sure was ready to.
Do you find it easy to find books that have fat main characters (or characters, in general) represented or is it something you have to actively go out and search for? How do you feel about that? Do you think there has been a change in representation as far as different body types go? Let’s discuss in the comments below! I’m really interested to hear you guys’ thoughts on this!