I was really excited that Entangled Teen had emailed me, wanting me to participate in this blog series because personally, I find that body types in most YA novels are primarily thin, which is fine, but also creates a difficult tether for the readers to relate to. It’s unrealistic for every primary YA character to be thin, because it just isn’t in any way realistic. But I have come across characters that I have loved and hold dearly to my heart.
Those two characters are Bianca from The D.U.F.F by Kody Keplinger and Willowdean from Julie Murphy’s Dumplin’. There’s a fierce-sassiness to them that I really enjoyed. But their personal struggles and acceptance of themselves was really enlightening. But the big thing was that they had, were their happy endings. And although I haven’t read The Sound of Us yet, Kiki, the main character says that she is, “too fat to be thin and too thin to be fat” which really struck me. It’s characters like Kiki who really strike that notch in readers.
But where am I getting at in this Body Positive post, because I’m just as unsure. Maybe it’s because i’m not as body confident as I should be, or the fact that when I do find that body confidence there’s always a way for me to brush it away. And it’s important for me -whether the characters be male or female- to find these characters with realistic body types. The array of body types that walk past me everyday, the body type that I have, and the personalities and inner struggles that these characters have within themselves.
It’s important -just as important as seeing more Diverse reads- for their to be more characters like Bianca, Willowdean and Kiki. We need more characters who will learn/try to accept themselves, their bodies, their imperfections just like teens are doing now. But this isn’t a post where i’m desperately seeking for these types of books/characters because these characters would need to be passionately written, with the intent of helping teens find their voice.
Without further ado, here’s a little more about the The Sound of Us!
Kiki Nichols might not survive music camp.
She’s put her TV-loving, nerdy self aside for one summer to prove she’s got what it takes: she can be cool enough to make friends, she can earn that music scholarship, and she can get into Krause University’s music program.
Except camp has rigid conduct rules—which means her thrilling late-night jam session with the hot drummer can’t happen again, even though they love all the same TV shows, and fifteen minutes making music with him meant more than every aria she’s ever sung.
But when someone starts snitching on rule breakers and getting them kicked out, music camp turns into survival of the fittest. If Kiki’s going to get that scholarship, her chance to make true friends—and her chance with the drummer guy—might cost her the future she wants more than anything.
Author Bio: Julie Hammerle is the author of The Sound of Us, which will be published by Entangled Teen on June 7, 2016. Before settling down to write “for real,” she studied opera, taught Latin, and held her real estate license for one hot minute. Currently, she writes about TV on her blog Hammervision, ropes people into conversations about Game of Thrones, and makes excuses to avoid the gym. Her favorite YA-centric TV shows include 90210 (original spice), Felicity, and Freaks and Geeks. Her music playlist reads like a 1997 Lilith Fair set list.
She lives in Chicago with her husband, two kids, and a dog. They named the dog Indiana.
The awesome team over at Entangled Teen are hosting two giveaways!
The first giveaway includes entering for the chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Enter for a chance to win here: a Rafflecopter giveaway
The second giveaway is a pretty awesome Dubsmash contest where you have the chance of winning a copy of The Sound of Us, a box of Nutty Bars and DVD of High School Musical!
Here are more details:
How to enter the Dubsmash Contest? Create a dubsmash video on the Dubsmash app, the Musical.ly app, or upload it to your YouTube Channel of any song from Camp Rock, High School Musical, or Pitch Perfect. Email in your video to firstname.lastname@example.org between May 30, 2016 and June 29, 2016 @ 11: 59 pm EDT for the first, mandatory entry into the contest, and then add one of several other ways to enter via the Rafflecopter widget below to increase your odds of winning! While we welcome all videos, only US residents are able to win the Grand Prize.
Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway
What are some of your favorite books that feature themes of body positivity?