Sometimes, I like to think that nobody has picked up on my book yet because my writing’s “too progressive.” What do I mean by that, you may ask? Well, the thought didn’t really cross my mind until I had a conversation with my friend about it.
She told me about how excited she is to read She Falls Asleep because it’s so different from all of the other YA novels out there. What I’ve noticed (she’s noticed this too) is that there’s so much dystopian America being chucked into the shelves, as well as books about wanting to be popular in high school that something raw is refreshing.
I know that I’ve discussed She Falls Asleep before (I’ve even posted the prologue here if you want to read that), but it’s true. She told me how that book could potentially make people recognize and talk about depression and other mental illnesses to teens faster than before. I do see her point. The book, itself, is written in the point of view of someone struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide. And it’s raw because I poured myself into the character. I was the same as Cassadee and some of the stuff that she does and thinks about reflects what I was going through during my darkest moments. I didn’t want to sugar coat it because I wanted the story to be sincere and as real as I could make it without completely making Cassadee me (of course the plot and everything else is fiction, but the emotions that she has is realistic for someone suffering from depression).
And then there’s the book that I’m currently writing, The Beautiful Effect. In this book, I’ve dabbled into society’s views by doing a bit of a gender role reversal. The main female in this book isn’t the typical, whiny protagonist who feels the need to cling to a boy for comfort and to feel beautiful. The lead male, on the other hand, is whiny and quite clingy. He also happens to be an attractive jock who is sexually assaulted by his controlling ex-girlfriend, something that society always thinks happens to girls. But it happens to guys, too. All the time. Yet We don’t acknowledge that fact because society believes that all guys have this macho exterior driven by testosterone, therefore it’s usually them who makes crude advances on women and never the other way around.
So here I am, a relatively young writer trying to change the game of the YA world with my gender bending characters and heart gripping stories too realistic for the industry to handle. I may not be writing about what’s conventionally popular, but there’s no point in writing what everyone else is writing. I write what I write to challenge popular YA books. I write to fight for diversity. I write to be progressive.