Teens Can Write Too Blog Chain: books I’d like to see more of

Back in the dark ages of 2013, there was a monthly blog hop on Teens Can Write Too, this fabulous blog championing teen writers. And it’s back! This month the discussion is based around the question What kinds of published books would you like to see more of? You can visit the blog here.

I’m going to do a list as usual, because I like lists. I’ve actually done a similar post before, which you can find here, so these are updated wishes of mine.

1) Retellings

Okay, so there are already LOTS of retellings out there. My aim is for every book ever published to be a retelling, preferably of Alice in Wonderland or Wizard of Oz.

Glinda meeting up with Alice? Hells yes.

2) Illustrations in YA books

I’m sure there are books out there like this, but…well, not that many. I have a short attention span. I think people would love physical books a lot more if there were pictures. Here I’m thinking about books like Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which I didn’t really like, but which has AMAZING pictures all throughout it.

3) Mermaids

One of my favourite MG series of all time is Ingo, which is all about the Mer. It’s powerful, and has a really unique magic system, and I love it. I’d love to read a really great YA mermaid book (if you know of one, let me know in comments!)



4) Books with no love interest

I love romance as much as the next gal. Anna and the French Kiss is one of my favourite books ever. But I don’t see why EVERY book has to have a romantic sub-plot.

5) Large families

I LOVED the huge family in My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick. More of those, please!

6) Quirky, different books

Here I’m talking about things like Alice in Wonderland, which is completely bizarre, any of Lemony Snicket’s books, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making and others like that. These are MG books, but I’d love to see that kind of bizarre, quirky style in YA! Books that, basically, don’t take themselves too seriously.

7) Diversity

Okay, I mentioned this in my previous post of “things I want to see more in YA,” but I think it’s important enough to reiterate: I want to see protagonists with different skin colours, abilities, backgrounds, genders, sexualities, opinions, personalities, families, fears, ambitions…characters that reflect how diverse people are in real life.

8) Different hobbies

Similar to in Lola and the Boy Next Door, I’d love to see characters who have diverse interests, and hobbies that reflect them. Like…flower-arranging, maybe. Or cross-stitching. Or memorising digits of pi. Or, I don’t know, Swedish bunny-jumping. No, really.

#molly weasley is a goddess

9) Laugh-out-loud funny speculative fiction books

I don’t come across these THAT often, but I always love the ones that I do. Laughing is fun! Contemporary YA books are often quite funny, but in genres like dystopia, it’s more serious. I’d love to see a comedic dystopian.

10) Unusual settings. 

Too often YA books are set in schools, probably in America. I’d love to see different settings – in a single room; in a jungle; underwater; in a mental asylum; in an abandoned theme park; homeschooling; online…okay this is giving me way too many plot bunnies.


Those are the things I’d love to see more of in YA. What about you?


53 thoughts on “Teens Can Write Too Blog Chain: books I’d like to see more of

  1. I’d like to see more retellings! And I’m all for illustrations in YA. I loved the illustrations in HP.

    I wrote about diversity as well! 🙂 Especially diversity in gender and sexuality.

    • Retellings are amaaaazzzzing. Pretty much I will auto-request retellings from publishers 😛

      DIVERSITY YES. I so want more diversity in books. In fact I’m dedicating a whole WEEK to diverse books. Watch out for that soon 🙂

  2. I love this post and would love to read books like the ones you mentioned above. Especially weird and wacky ones like AiW – that would be an amazing YA novel, haha ;D

    • I’m actually plotting an AiW retelling at the moment. Will definitely be quirky. I mean, hopefully.
      DUUUUUUUUUUUUUDE I’VE NEVER MET ANYONE ON THIS BLOG WHO LOVES INGO!!! THIS IS SO EXCITING. It’s so different omg. One of my favourite series of all time, especially when I was younger – I mean, how cool is Granny Carne? I haven’t read Stormswept yet because it’s with different characters. Have you read it??

  3. Oh gosh, yes yes YES. I love all of these and I want to see them too! And what about retelling mash-ups?! Why aren’t they around! Like the Once Upon a Time show (I haven’t seen it, but I’m sooo going to watch it one day). Don’t they mix together LOTS of fairy tales? That’s awesome. Why is there not more of that?! I know Jackson Pearce does it a little bit, though. OH, and I’d like to see more craziness too. And just frankly things outside-the-box. Books from different countries, like South Africa and Brazil and stuff, and definitely yes to the hobbies. 😉 Lola was awesome for that. AND YES TO THE ROMANCE. I love a good squishy (or angsty, whatever works) romance just as much as the next YA addict, buuuut, they can all sound the same after a while. Books don’t have to rely on romance, do they? What about friendship? What about family? I wish I’d joined in this chain now, lol. I obviously have a lot to say. ;))

    • Retelling mash-ups, hell yes! I would read the CRAP out of one of those. Once Upon a Time is such a cool idea – I watched the first season or so. And Once Upon a Time in Wonderland is great as well! Ooooh, books set in Africa or South America (or really anywhere Not White) would be good. You can always join the chain next month – or just do it without the blog chain 😀 I’d love to see more of these wishlists because they’re a lot of fun!

  4. I definitely agree. If anyone else has read Heroes of Olympus, they know that Rick Riordan’s characters are very diverse, and that is one of my favorite things about them.
    I would love illustrations. They’re not only for little kids.
    I like Lemony Snicket’s books too, because they are really ironic. 🙂

  5. Okay, so can I just gush about your list right now! I agree with several.

    More illustrations, like in Peter and the Starcatchers. Mermaids are fascinating! Books with no love interest? I’d settle for a book with no love triangle. Weasleys! More diversity, yes! Strong minded women. People of color. And unusual settings always make for a unique book. One of the reasons I enjoy sci-fi so much.

    Great topic.

    • Peter and the Starcatchers? Oooh, I haven’t heard of that yet. Must remember to add it to my TBR. Which is…quite lengthy (infinite, almost). I’m liking sci-fi more now as well – for a long time I didn’t read any, but being a book blogger has made me pick up a lot more books that I wouldn’t normally 🙂

  6. I’m all for the quirky and different books, I live for them. I second that we need more of them, not big commercially published ones like John Green, but less known authors who write funny and intelligent out of the box books.

    Retellings! Ever since I read Splintered and Unhinged, I’ve been looking for a retelling that’ll bring back that MOTHY feeling. Next I’ll try Dorothy Must Die, that looks incredible! Thanks for sharing Em, great idea for a chain.

    • I mean I’m a MASSIVE John Green fan (obviously), but I so agree about championing lesser-known authors – often that’s where you find the gems.

      Oooh, yes, Splintered and Unhinged are so good! I’ll pretty much read any retelling. Dorothy Must Die looks great 🙂 I can’t wait to get a copy and read it!

  7. I agree on more diversity. I want to read about other people I don’t see all the time in the media. 😀 AND YES MORE PICTURES. I just got a book for my birthday that’s a mixture of text and illustrations, so I’m excited.

    Dorothy Must Die was amazing. :3

  8. Yes! To all of it! Particularly the idea about YA books with illustrations. That would be amazing.

    It’s not about mermaids, but it does have loads to do with the sea and sea mythology (and, it’s awesome) – ‘The Brides of Rollrock Island’, by Margo Lanagan – have you read that? If not, check it out.

    Another fantastic post, here. I hope all these dreams come true! 🙂

    • Right? How cool would that be?

      Oooh, I’ve heard of Margo Lanagan but have never read anything by her. I will definitely check it out.

      Yes! Hopefully every author in the world reads this blog post. And they’re like, “you know what, we’ll write a book JUST for Emily.” 😛

  9. Even though I run away form my extended family in life, I must admit that I LOVE them in books. More cousins and aunts and grandpa, please! And yes, we do need different hobbies. Crocheting! Knitting! Mostly because I can’t manage it no matter how much I try. And diversity, obviously. Great list! Also, I too love Fairyland, even though I haven’t gotten round to the second book yet. 😦

  10. I would love to see more books that are diverse and that are really different! And I do not enjoy every single book having a romantic subplot either. Alice in Wonderland was a really fun quirky read, I agree there should be more like that. Lovely post Emily!

  11. All hail diversity!! I’d really like to see more diversity in any story. But I can understand why there aren’t many diverse protagonists: we’re afraid to write something we don’t know about. A hell lot of research would be needed if we were to create one! (Or, perhaps what we need is good translation and enough promotion for those kind of books and people)
    The romance. Sometimes, it’s so overwhelming that I have to put down the book to let the main characters enjoy their make-out session alone 😛 . If the romance is necessary, PLEASE be different, which means less bad boys, less hate-each-other-and-then-fall-in-love-all-of-a-sudden stories and NO “perfect” abs or biceps. PLEASE. I need to see more friendships and family love.

    Those are two that I feel most strongly about, but I wouldn’t mind more quirky/different/unusual settings or characters or books, either!

    I don’t know if you’ve read them; Feeling Sorry for Celia and Finding Cassie Crazy by Jaclyn Moriarty are super duper funny, quirky and special. For example, FSC is composed of letters and notes. It’s amazing. (The fact that the author is an Aussie may be a prompt for you. XD )

    p.s. I read the post you wrote before and mentioned, and I just want to tell you that *whispers* I love wierd socks, too. No, they’re more like crazy socks. I wear mismatched socks I matched for myself!

    • You make a good point about people being scared to write what they don’t know and get it wrong. But I think the answer to that is focusing on who the character is as a PERSON without caring so much about skin colour/sexuality/ethinicity etc, because those things really aren’t that important.

      Oooooh, I won a book by Jaclyn Moriarty recently, so I really want to read those now! She sounds like an awesomely quirky writer. I’ll definitely check those out 🙂

      Mismatched socks are fantastic. Unfortunately we’re not allowed to wear REALLY crazy ones at school – I save them for home 😛

  12. I was nodding my head throughout this entire post! I ADORE retellings, and Alice in Wonderland has a gorgeous prose in itself, so retellings of that would be amazing. (Splintered, anyone?) ILLUSTRATIONS YES. But not in horror books. Please no. Mermaids, too. I need to read about more of those. I’m actually writing a story about mermaids on Wattpad. No love interests? It depends. They would be okay in some series like The Grisha Trilogy, etc. LARGE FAMILIES. Well, not unrealistically large. Just a tight family. GO QUIRK. I love books that make you go all “whaaaaat?” I’m an Asian, I have a gay uncle and good friends with disabilities. I AM ALL FOR DIVERSE BOOKS. Different hobbies would be awesome. Maybe something like hair styling or shoe shining. 😉 I WOULD LOVE TO LOL in dystopians. And yes to unusual settings. Forgive me for this long-ass comment, hahaha! Awesome post!

    • Oh god, Splintered is so good. I would LOVE to see a more quirky retelling rather than creepy, though, more similar to the original (and actually I’m thinking of writing one myself). YAY DIVERSE BOOKS. A lot of my friends have Asian and Indian heritage; I’ve got friends of all different sexualities; I have an uncle in a wheelchair – I’d love to see these kind of people represented in books! OOOH, shoe shining sounds like an awesome hobby. Maybe I’ll take that up myself. Don’t apologise for your comment, I LOVE reading them (and besides, I’m getting so many plot bunnies).

      • I LOVE creepy retellings, haha! xD Quirky ones are great, too, though. 🙂 You have no idea how awesome it is that you’re considering my ideas. So awesome. And I’ll be giving a speech on diverse characters tomorrow. I hope it isn’t an epic fail!

  13. In re. large families: it’s not strictly fiction, but have you tried Cheaper By The Dozen? Not the film, that’s not great, the book. And Belles on Their Toes, the sequel.
    (I’m not going to insult you by suggesting you haven’t read Seven Little Australians.)

  14. Ooooh, very interesting post you have here, Emily. I agree to all of them – there needs to be more of these stuff on YA, especially Diversity. As an Asian, I’m a little too sick of having to read mostly caucasian heroes and heroines. It would be nice to have someone from another culture, because it would be interesting how they will handle certain situations considering they have other cultural things to take note of. And I would love more illustrations in YA, too! Have you read School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani yet? That series has beautiful drawings, definitely not something to be missed if you’re looking for illustrations. I’d love more unique settings, too. How about being stuck in a Dali painting? HAH! That would keep the characters busy 😉

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

    • ESPECIALLY diversity, yes. The Alice in Wonderland retelling that I’m in the middle of plotting has an Asian protagonist. So that’s something. I haven’t read School for Good and Evil but I’ve heard about it! OMG, stuck in a Dali painting, or any painting? THAT WOULD BE SO FREAKING COOL. You guys have such awesome ideas.

  15. A book “in an abandoned theme park.” SOLD. (It’s like that John Green video about the creepy Ferris wheel in Germany! Best setting ever.)

    Also, I agree on retellings (and on everything else, really). Plus, I’d love to see retellings that aren’t just fairytales of some sort, like maybe more YA retellings of classics, like Shakespeare, etc.? That would be AMAZING.\

    Awesome post!

    • Haha, that’s actually where I got it from! (I even had the top comment on the Youtube video for a while. Score)

      Retellings in general really excite me. And yes – retellings of classics would cool! I’m thinking of Lizzie Bennet Diaries here.

      Soooo….many…plot bunnies….

  16. I absolutely love retellings and I, too, would like to see more YA books without romantic sub plots, especially the mushy and useless ones. Going with your characters with different hobbies item, I would like to see more books where the main character is a nerdy kind of girl who is in a lot of classes with mostly boys because not many girls are as interested in science and math as she is. Also, I haven’t read this trilogy yet, but one trilogy involving mermaids is the “Lost Voices Trilogy” by Sarah Porter.


  17. Emily this is such a great post!

    I totally agree with retellings – I want more Greek mythology retellings. Not just Persephone and Hades because that’s overdone, but one with all the Olympians. It’s why I love Covenant so much, because it has all the gods. Other than The Goddess Wars and Percy Jackson I don’t think I know anymore Greek mythology retellings. I also want an Atlantis retelling! Or a fantasy book based off Atlantis, not necessarily the Disney version, but one using references from Plato and maybe based off the Thera eruption (I studied Thera in Ancient History so I have a real interest in Atlantis).

    In terms of mermaid books, the only one I’ve really read is Of Poseidon by Anna Banks – the first book was ok but the rest are meh. I’ve got Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly which I haven’t read yet but I’ll tell you how that goes if you haven’t read it yet.

    I love it when a book with no love interest is done well. I think This Song Will Save Your Life would have been great without Char as a love interest.

    And yes need more YA books with hobbies! It’s why I loved books like The Language of Flowers and The Tea Chest (both more chick-lit/contemporary fiction) because their focus was on the Victorian language of flowers and tea respectively.

    • An Atlantis retelling would be SO COOL. It interests me a lot. My sister read Of Poseidon, I think – maybe I should read those.

      This Song Will Save Your Life definitely didn’t need a love interest. I think all the rest of it was sufficiently a fantastic story.

      I haven’t read either of those, but they sound really good! I’ve heard a lot about them 🙂

  18. Very good post! I enjoyed your different takes on things. As for funny dystopians, I’d like to present the Partials trilogy by Dan Wells. He manages humor within his books really well, without destroying the plot.

    Good post!

  19. Pingback: What Happened This Week: Stacking the Shelves and Reading Wishlists | The Loony Teen Writer

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