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Thursday, October 07, 2010

YA Bloggers Want...More Diversity: Colleen Mondor of Bookslut & Chasing Ray

Today I'm very pleased to welcome Colleen Mondor, book blogger at Chasing Ray and Bookslut, whose candid reviews and opinions always provide food for thought. She's the gal who bravely says what others might be thinking, and we stand up and cheer for her honesty.

The second annual Kidlit Blogger Conference in Portland a couple of years ago was a vortex for meeting amazing blogging people, including Colleen. I have quite a lot of admiration for her, so I hope you enjoy what she has to say.

Welcome, Colleen!


For my column at Bookslut I am constantly looking for more YA with broad appeal. The overwhelming number of books I receive have Caucasian female protagonists and I'd love to see something different. I want more books with male protags, more multi ethnic casts and more GBLTQ characters (of any gender or ethnicity). I'd also love - LOVE - if there were more teen mysteries. I have no idea why this genre falls off the face of the earth for YA as MG mysteries are so popular. I'd also like to know when SF meant dystopian only and pine - absolutely pine - for some good space opera.

And don't even get me started about vamp titles. The less said about the black & purple covers, the better.

My top faves?

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes
Empress of the World by Sara Ryan
Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link
The Explosionist by Jenny Davidson

All of them took chances with these books and I think they accomplished wonderful things. (And boo on you for only letting me choose 5!!!)


Can't get enough of Colleen? Check out her fabulous blog series, What a Girl Wants: on bad girls, books we can't forget, telling the truth and more.

Thank you, Colleen!

Readers, what kind of diversity would you like to see in YA lit?
Each comment is a chance to win this week's prizes, plus the mondo What YA Bloggers Want prize pack at the end. Hooray for books!
(US addresses only, one comment/day)


  1. I definitely would like to see more GLBTQ characters.

  2. More GLBTQ characters would be great! But really, any diversity would be welcome. I'm working on my own gay book and it'd be great to see it published. Also, Colleen is totally awesome. I love her!

  3. I agree that diversity definitely adds substance to stories. I don't want to read books with diverse characters just because. I want characters with depth.

    I think that Colleen is on to something about more YA mysteries and definitely male protags.

  4. Please less romances that are "forbidden". One or two are ok but lately they've been lacking actual emotion and the characters are whiny paranormals who trip over things or frequently mention how they'd sacrifice themselves for thei love. please can we get some better romance?

  5. Yes! We need more ethnic characters in our YA fiction!!! AND GLBTQ is on the rise, it's slowly creeping in to YA, I believe, which is a good thing. Hopefully it'll eventually become a more centrally-accepted thing in society.

  6. Great feature with Colleen! I totally agree about more diversity, more YA mysteries and more space sci-fi. I did just read a couple books from a YA mystery series by Norah McClintock (Chloe & Levesque)--there should be more detective series like that. I used to love mysteries as a teen reader, whether it was Agatha Christie or really formulaic pulp novels. :)

  7. YA mysteries would be a great change! I sometimes wonder where they went?! Great post!

  8. I'd love to see more YA featuring cultures that wouldn't be familiar to the average reader. The culture in which we're raised impacts on our world view, the way we tackle problems, the way we treat relationships--there seems to be so much fodder there for writers!

  9. I was just thinking about the lack of main characters that are of different ethnic backgrounds! And I definitely agree with you about the need for more YA mysteries! I love a good mystery, they really make you think, and there just aren't enough out there in YA! Great post!

  10. I love love love The Absolutely True Diary! I am teaching it right now and my students are loving it! I, too, think that there's a need for more modern books about characters of a variety of ethnic backgrounds. And there's a need for more GLBTQ characters. Less paranormal, more normal.

  11. I would love for the fantasy and paranormal aspects to split and for more novels like The Books of Bayern and The Seven Kingdoms Series to dominate the best sellers. I feel like purity is really lacking in great adventure stories now that the paranormal veins have leaked into the YA world. I feel like the only time an honorable, true and whole character is portrayed, the teen girls talk like, like the world is like, a big like spherical thing, like whoa, wait, like what was I saying like read this book!