New Virtual Book Club Explores Diverse YA Fiction

Submitted by SJPL Staff on Wed, 10/27/2021 - 8:00 AM
Joyce Ellington YA Book Club host, Kat Trinidad, cosplays the cover of Wings of Ebony

Written by Joyce Ellington librarian, Joan Weagle

Meet Kat

Volunteer Kat Trinidad hosts the new virtual YA Book Club at Joyce Ellington Branch Library. Kat is an aspiring librarian, currently pursuing her MLIS, with an undergraduate degree in library science. She brings her enthusiasm and extensive knowledge of YA literature to an inclusive celebration of voices, promoting literacy, and making book joy available to all.

When asked what drew her to Young Adult (YA) novels, Kat explained that YA novels transcend age. They approach issues and life challenges in a way that’s understandable and palpable to any age. The issues faced by young people are no different than those faced by adults. YA authors have a unique way of approaching those difficult topics with grace. YA conveys safe spaces to all readers, exploring identities, encouraging imagination, providing hope, while allowing nostalgia for the children in us all.

Trends in YA Fiction

When asked about what trends she sees happening in YA books in the last few years, Kat discussed that the protagonists are more diverse. She absolutely loves it when books reflect the rich diversity of the world around us:

  • Legendborn by Tracy Deonn is a spin on the King Author legend with African root magic.
  • Mexican Gothic is a horror and paranormal novel by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.
  • Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Byron is a retelling of the traditional tale from a feminist perspective with a person of color as the protagonist.
  • Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay is a contemporary novel with a Filipino American protagonist.
  • Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood is an Ethiopian-inspired retelling of Jane Eyre.
  • So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix by Bethany C. Morrow re-explores the classic novel with four Black sisters coming of age during the American Civil War.

Another trend is the representation of mythical beings from around the world. As an example, the book Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray is a pan African fantasy focusing on African mythology. Another is the representation of Orishas in Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi or the gumiho in Wicked Fox by Kat Cho.

Her choices of books for the YA Book Club reflects diverse perspectives by authors, as well as their protagonists, and other characters:

  • In November, in celebration of Native American Heritage Month, Kat has chosen Firekeeper’s Daughter, the debut novel of Angeline Boulley. Kat enjoys debut novels of YA writers not only because the books often lead to engaging discussions in book clubs but also because they showcase authors who have finally made it to the world stage.
  • In December, for fun, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins has been chosen. This book is the prequel to The Hunger Games.
  • Focusing on Greek mythology, in January 2022, Lore by Alexandra Bracken has been selected.
  • Finally, in February 2022, The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris will be read in celebration of Black History Month.

Join us (Virtually) for the next YA Book Club at Joyce Ellington Branch Library on November 20, 2021 at 1:00 PM!

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