Let's Talk About...#MorallyComplicatedYA

Greetings and salutations, folks!  SJ and I normally don't jump head-first into YA community controversies on here bec...

Greetings and salutations, folks! 

SJ and I normally don't jump head-first into YA community controversies on here because... 

SJ isn't paying attention and is only aware of the drama a few days after the fact, OR she hears about it and is still sightly confused like a lost lamb in a snarling wolf den. But this controversy blatant crap fest riled her right up.

Dash really doesn't have a good excuse. She doesn't like to jump into these sort of debates because a.) the professionals often beautifully sum up her feelings on these offending matters and b.) She is the honest-to-God queen of procrastination.

Long live the Queen!

BUT! We were so incensed by the #MorallyComplicatedYA debate that we had to throw in our two-sense. Ergo, we have joined forces to bring you this Let's Talk About Post. 

What are we talking about? What are we enraged and gnashing our teeth and pounding our fists over? This article.

Scott Bergstrom, a debut author, is doing really well for himself. He's got a six-figure deal, sold to 16 territories and Jerry Bruckheimer wants to bring his story to the big shiny screen. Really and honestly, a lot of us could have said "good for you, bro" *all the clapping* "your story must be really amazing" "something given to us by the Almighty" 

but then this happened...

You know what turns me into a giant squid of anger? Narratives where the "thinning" of an overweight character coincides with their empowerment. -DASH

Let's also make one thing perfectly clear: the idea that badassery is closely intertwined with a rejection of femininity is COMPLETE MALARKEY!!! 

Every girly-girl, be she a cheerleader, ballerina, or a prom queen, we've ever had the pleasure of knowing has been a curb-stomping badass. In fact, Dash's pop culture hero (and style icon) is a champion of feminine badassery...the one and only Peggy Carter! SJ's own little sister is a real life example of a glamorous badass! She's a sweetheart wrapped up in dresses and jewels and a dimpled smile but if you annoy her, offend her, or get in her way, she is quite capable of stomping you (SJ: Literally. She's bigger than me, and will cut me with the sharp edge of her freshly winged eyeliner).

This is not to say that a woman must be feminine to be a badass. On the contrary, we are simply stating that badasses come in all shapes and sizes and that there should be equal representation for all the lady asskickers out there!


Okay so his lead character get's skinny to become a badass. That is insulting and wrong on it's own level, but then the issue becomes bigger when suddenly dear old Scott displays how little he knows of the very genre he's writing for. He misrepresents the entire genre, thus offending tons of readers and bloggers who may have originally supported his debut novel. This man just shot himself in both feet.

Only skinny woman can be important, and YA isn't morally complicated enough without the rare gems created by White Males. Alright, we're angrily following you in mob formation, Scott. 

That's all you have to say right? 

Wait, what are you doing, Scott's Agent? 

You have something to add?



*Scott's Agent proceeds to miss the entire point of The Hunger Games AND inadvertently insults women writers*

Listen, We're in no way trying to bash Ms. Adams about what level of violence she does or does not find acceptable. But that kind of comment brushes over the ENTIRE POINT of the Hunger Games!

*rolls up sleeves*

Let us drop some knowledge on you folks. The violence in the Hunger Games is there for a reason. The entire series is a critique of the human need for spectacle, our desensitized view towards violence, our tendency towards greed, and how atrocity can destroy the psyche of those who suffer beyond repair. To temper the violence we see in the arena is to peel away at the seriousness of these themes. Sure, they are difficult to stomach, but that's the BLOODY POINT! It's supposed to make you uncomfortable! It's supposed to make you think and sympathize with someone who's suffering from a horrific experience!

Furthermore, this article is structured in such a way that it paints Bergstrom not as a new voice in a vibrant genre but almost as a savior of it. If there is one thing that we are sick and tired of, it's articles that create that notion that a middle-aged white man could (or should) be the "savior of YA" with his stories. Meanwhile, with a simple backhanded compliment or shoutout, tearing down an established female or POC writer who has created a sensation in the genre. At worse, these sort of articles ignore those unspoken geniuses who are currently crafting, or have just released, sensational work and aren't being highlighted due to their gender or race. We're tired of this crap. It needs to stop.


–Book Recommendations–

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Death and The Second World War described in marvelous detail. Female agent is captured and held prisoner in Gestapo headquarters. She is beaten, and fondled, and starved during her stay even though she cooperates with their interrogation.

Heist Society Trilogy by Ally Carter
The main character is an ex-thief who comes from a long line of brilliant con artists and thieves. She has to execute a daring heist to help her father.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
A teenage girl at a well-renowned New England boarding school tricks an exclusive club of male students into performing daring pranks of her own invention that make feminist critiques of the school.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
The main character is a badass teenage girl who works as an assassin. Which, in and of itself, is a pretty morally questionable profession.

Curseworkers Triology by Holly Black
People who can magically manipulate things like luck, death, and love work for the mob because their abilities are considered illegal. The main character's family is mob-aligned and said supernaturally gifted criminals.

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
Dorothy's court was filled to the brim with macabre acts and terrifying images and nothing was held back- wings ripped off monkeys, life sucked from people, dead people magically danced around like sick puppets, the scarecrows experiments. This book is constantly reviewed as "too dark" or "too gruesome for me"

In The Forest Dark And Deep (short story) by Carrie Ryan
Spoiler - Little Girl has a tea party with dead neighborhood girls strung up like marionettes and she enjoys the hell out of it. And then the March Hair, from Alice In Wonderland, brings her to near death so when the cops come they won't suspect her for being the creepy little shit that she is.

What do YOU think of this whole drama?
What are some of your Morally Complicated YA Novels?

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