What’s hype this month? YA, that’s what. If it wasn’t obvious from the two big posts about coming-of-age stories I put out this August, it’s a set of narrative tropes that I find myself constantly drawn back to. Following sites like Gay YA, Book Riot, and YA Pride helps a lot too, since they’re giving me an unending influx of news and recommendations and I’m more aware than ever of all the amazing stories out there, especially in the field of queer YA. I think I’m especially intrigued by that area since I didn’t have a particularly queer YA-hood myself, and only started thinking about these things in my early twenties. Even without taking that into account, that period of my life flew by so fast and so crazily that I feel like I need to consume many, many novels (and other media) ruminating on it to put it in perspective and figure out what even happened.
More than that, though, there are just so many cool, varied, and genuinely good stories happening in this field at the moment. Just this month I read Alice Oseman’s I Was Born For This, a moving look at fame, friendship, and fandom that I finished in two sittings; I reread Malinda Lo’s A Line in the Dark, a psychological thriller that features a murder mystery but no dead lesbians; and I started Kathryn Ormsbee’s Tash Hearts Tolstoy, which promises a delightfully intertextual tale about storytelling with an ace main character. My ‘want to read’ list is overflowing, but I’m sneaking these in when I can and they’re so darn good.
I’ve also been reading some very fun fantasy novels, reviews of which will start going up in September. But what did I publish this month?
On the Blog:
Butterfly Soup: Queer Romance, Geek Humour, and the Authentic Teen Experience (a review of a visual novel about the trials and troubles of growing up, with plenty of loving nods to late ’00s anime fandom and a very sweet romance)
Revue Starlight and the Unreality of the Stage (and Why It Works) (a look at Revue Starlight‘s use of magic, theatre, and magic theatre)
Country Roads, Take Me to Hell: The Spooky Small Town, the “Returning Home” Plot, and the Coming-of-Age Story (a dive into what makes the spooky, spooky settings of Life is Strange, Night in the Woods, and Oxenfree so effective and so relevant to their character stories)
Speaking of YA! PBS is putting out a series of great bite-sized videos about the history and evolution of various genres, from sci-fi to romance to everything in between. The evolution of YA is always fascinating to get into, so I’ll leave this one here as a start and would encourage you to check the rest of them out if you’re interested (whoops, it’s more Linday Ellis! I know, I know. She’s just good).
Why Does Marvel Hate New Readers? – what’s the most daunting numerical-based task known to humanity in our modern world? Complex physics? No, it’s trying to get into comics. This article goes into the weirdness of comic issue numbering, as well as other staples like crossover events and spinoffs, and how they alienate and confuse prospective readers instead of drawing them in.
By Returning to Their Roots, Dark Magical Girls Could Provide Hope – the Dark Magical Girl is not a new thing, despite its popularity as a genre of its own in our post-Madoka world. As this article outlines, it’s also not necessarily a bad thing, citing some historical MG shows that have featured tragedy and suffering, only for it to be overcome by those values of hope and love in the end, leading to valuable catharsis and inspiration.
A Perspective on the Intersection of Intimacy, Romance, and Fandom — we’ve all seen this before: a pair of fictional characters are canonically Just Good Friends, but the fandom does not see it that way and they become a romantic ‘ship. And hey, that’s fine, but this article raises the interesting and important point that this attitude–the assumption that two people who are close can surely only be so close because their love is romantic/sexual rather than platonic–speaks to a bigger issue about how society sees intimacy, and can cut people on the aromantic and/or asexual spectrums out of the discussion.
Steven Universe‘s Creator Has Done More for LGBTQ Visibility Than You Might Know – an interview with Rebecca Sugar where she talks passionately about her work and her drive to provide representation for children.
In Defense of Romantic Comedies — given that I recently stayed up late watching Notting Hill and blubbering, a post that speaks for the power and positive potential (despite some of its negative tropes) of the humble rom-com seems pertinent. Plus, the opening suggestion that rom-coms are a form of speculative fiction is very intriguing and, the more I think about it, true.
For Those Who Remain Behind: The Third Wheel in Revue Starlight and Revolutionary Girl Utena — both these shows star swashbuckling schoolgirls, and both have plotlines that deal with jealousy and self-doubt in their side characters. Natasha breaks down how they do them differently, and why she felt one was more effective than the other.
And, if you’re also watching Revue Starlight, you should check out Atelier Emily’s episodic reviews and analysis! They’re a delight every week, and get into a lot of visual symbolism and historical context that I find really valuable.
And that’s it for now I think! As always, thanks for stopping by, and take care out there.