Let’s Talk Bookish

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme created by Rukky at Eternity Books. This week’s discussion question is, “What are some tropes/characters that you think are poorly or under represented in books? “

So this is going to seem weird after my passionate defense of sexual content in YA last week, but I think that asexuality and teenage characters who aren’t ready to have sex are under represented in books. And, of course, those are two totally separate situations.

The way I define asexuality is a lack of sexual desire. I know there are many degrees of asexuality and asexual people who have sex, but my basic definition is someone who doesn’t have the desire to have sex. I like the way it was defined in Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann, where the main character said something to the effect of, “You know how some people don’t care about running? Well, that’s me. I don’t care about sex.” While that’s not how I personally define asexuality for me, it’s pretty damn close.

There are some books out there about people who are asexual. I’ve read three: Let’s Talk About Love, The Girls Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzie Lee, and All the Wrong Places by Anne Gallagher. I also know there are more books coming out or that are out. But it’s not a widespread thing and I would like to see it more normalized.

The second under represented trope is teenagers who aren’t ready to have sex. It seems like any romance with teenagers ends up, at some point, with the teenagers choosing to have sex. And, like I said last week, having sex and exploring sexuality is perfectly natural and many teenagers do it, there are also many teenagers who choose not to have sex for a whole host of reasons. I’d like to see more books where someone tries and realizes, no, it’s not for them. Not yet, not now. Or doesn’t try and just knows that they’re not ready. Where are all the books about late bloomers? I’d like to see more.

What are some tropes or characters you think need better representation? Let me know in the comments!

Let’s Talk Bookish – Sexual Content in YA

It’s time for another Let’s Talk Bookish discussion. This is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky at Eternity Books. This week’s topic is, Is there too much sexual content in YA?

I read a lot of YA, but the books I choose don’t tend to have a lot of sexual content. At least not sexually explicit content. I guess Throne of Glass by Sara J. Maas is considered YA, and that does have sexual content, but, outside of that, I can’t really think of many books that I’ve read that have sexual content. Maybe it’s because I don’t read much contemporary; is that where all the sexual content is?

However, that being said, I don’t think there’s too much content in YA and not because I’m not coming across it. While I completely sympathize with people who don’t want to read about sex, sexual tension, or romance, when I was a kid, that’s exactly what I wanted to read. I read Forever by Judy Blume when I was in fifth or sixth grade because I knew it had sex in it. When my parents left me alone at home, I went through the adult books in the house looking for sex scenes. My library checked out any book to anyone, and when I was in sixth or seventh grade, I checked out a romance book. Even before the sex started, I knew it was the type of book I was looking for because of the sensual descriptions of clothing.

Many kids are interested in sex, and many kids don’t have access to healthy depictions of sex. Their parents either won’t talk to them about it and/or give them rotten information. Books with sexual content are the only place they’ll get an education. I mean, yes, in reality they’re going online and looking at porn and talking to their friends who are as badly educated as they are, but if they can read a book that depicts a sexual relationship and it’s consequences, isn’t that better?

Judy Blume wrote Forever in 1975 because the only books out there about teenagers having sex ended in tragedy. Her daughter wanted to read something more realistic or at least different. (Side note: I have no proof that’s why she wrote it; I believe I read that many years ago somewhere, but don’t quote me on it). So, Blume wrote a book about teens having sex and detailed (or at least soft-focused) the sex scenes. And while those scenes were incredibly cringey (the guy named his penis Ralph, and I pictured a penis wearing tiny glasses), they showed fairly realistic sex between two inexperienced people. And, how just because you have sex, it doesn’t mean your relationship is going to last. But it doesn’t mean your life is going to be ruined, either.

So, I think sexual content in YA is important. It seems that most YA depicts healthy relationships that focus on consent and protection and the consequences of rushing into things unprepared. I think of how hugely important Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez was in not only portraying gay relationships, but realistically dealt with the consequences for one of the characters when he took risky chances.

Again, not everyone wants to read sexual content. But I also think there’s enough diversity in YA to satisfy everyone.

Calendar Girls October: Books that Lit Your Way Out of a Reading Slump

Calendar girls is a monthly blog event that’s hosted by Katie at Never Not Reading and Adrienne at Darque Dreamer Reads . This month’s discussion prompt is Books that Lit Your Way out of a Reading Slump.

So, I can’t remember when I’ve ever had a proper reading slump. I’ve read less than usual, like February when I only read about three books. But I’ve still always read every night. So, there hasn’t been a particular book that’s pulled me out.

That being said, I have had a genre light me from reading a book every week or so to reading almost a book a night. And that genre was M/M historical romance.

I’d read a few in the genre and enjoyed it, but it didn’t spark until I discovered Cat Sebastian and K.J. Charles. Once I read them, I devoured whatever I could find. I tore through Cat Sebastian’s book, The Soldier’s Scoundrel like a wild fire. Then, K.J. Charles’s Society of Gentlemen books entered by world. The first, A Fashionable Indulgence was okay, but the second, A Seditious Affair cemented my love.

With such lovely lines like, ” Wednesday by Wednesday, week by week, I have loved you.” I was a goner.

After that, for months after, I read almost nothing but m/m historical romance. I discovered more authors and more series. I read until I couldn’t find anything I hadn’t read. And while I’ve branched back out into other genres, m/m historical romances have a special place in my heart.

What’s a book or genre that snapped you out of a slump? Comment below and let me know!