Friday, April 10, 2015

Religion in YA

2015 has been such a great year for the promotion of diversity YA and actual diverse books. From books like Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda to Written in the Stars, these debut authors deserve a huge round of applause. This is totally going track but I have to give a shout out to these authors. I've never seen such a close group of authors who are great friends that stick up for one another. Some authors you want to be following on: Justina Ireland, Dahlia Adler, Melissa Grey, Katherine Locke, Becky Albertalli, Adam Silvera, Nicola Yoon, Aisha Saeed, Sabaa Tahir, Renee Ahdieh, Ilene Gregario, Marcy Beller Paul. The first 4 are so great about speaking up on Twitter about everything (racial diversity, feminism, sexuality). You want to add all their books to you TBR.

What I wanted to discuss today is religion/belief in YA (which was inspired by Aisha Saeed's Written in the Stars (a great book)). From the 6 years I've been reading books, there was never much religious diversity or even religion involved. If a person was religious they were Christian/Catholic and sometimes Jewish. Even then, I was never sure if they were that religious or not. Saving the world can do that to characters. I know I'm not personally a fan of books that heavily focus on religion and start to sound a bit preachy and I don't think that's ever been a problem I've faced when reading. Lots of books don't really need to mention it especially in a paranormal or fantasy world but contemporary books are a different story. 

I do want to question what readers would do if they did encounter a book in which the character was religious. The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes was about a group of teens on a youth retreat and did a great job with how it handled the plot and the characters. Would the reaction be different if these characters were on a Jewish, Muslim, or Bhuddist retreat of a sort? Some religions have different values that not many people are accustomed to. Do you think contrasting opinions between the reader/character would take away from the book's rating? Should it even matter? In reality, would this be a problem that hinders from a book's or author's success? 

For authors who are planning on writing a character from a different religion than they are, research is important!! I can't stress this enough.

(I'm not sure if I even got my point across but I hope this post made sense. I respect all and any religions/beliefs) 

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