Sunday, May 15, 2011

Diversity in YA

This post has been post-poned twice thanks to Blogger downage and packing.

From Thursday night:

This is weird. Blogger is down, so I am writing this on word. It feels odd.

Tonight I left the <s>batcave</s> my little room of Buffy and Froot Loops where I have been cacooning myself thanks to a mild illness. Tess and I were meeting at Harvard Square for dinner and the Diversity in YA event. Of course my T pass was NO WHERE to be found. On the last day it’ll be necessary until SEPTEMBER. I took it as a sign that my two dollars and I would be taking a cab home. I used the two bucks to get me to Cambridge, then got cash for the cab out at Central Square where the ticket machine for the T to Harvard gave me my $15 change in dollar coins.



Fifteen dollars worth. Zipped into my purple wallet….

Then Tess and I ate dinner at Border Café (om nom nom chips) the first place I ate in Harvard Square last yearß see that circularlity?? We walked to the Cambridge Public Library which was GORGEOUS. So in love. Planning on living in Harvard Square next semester and only coming back here for meals/my bed.

BUT that’s not what any of you are here for. THE DIVERSITY IN YA EVENT. Incredible. Not going to lie, I hadn’t read many of the books/authors featured. We read The Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X Stork in literary criticism last semester, and I read Tithe by Holly Black last summer, but I was looking forward to getting White Cat and Red Glove, which I did. Also, I found my new YA idol.

Sarah. Rees. Brennan.

Tess already loved her, but I’d never encountered her. She’s fabulous. I think she’d be a great real life friend, she reminds me of the way my undergrad friends and I talked. Plus, she answered my question—Disability in YA, of course—so so classily. I brought it up because, as per usual, the terms “LGBT” and “people of color” were being bandied around, very intelligently and in a conversation that’s totally necessary, but non-/able-bodied only got mentioned in an audience’s question. It needs to be included in that category of “diversity” and I think people forget this in the conversation, because queerness and ethnicity are such big-ticket items. I feel strongly about both of those, too, but disability deserves attention.

But Sarah Rees Brennan totally got what I was saying. We discussed it while she signed my books (along with gushing about Dublin!) and talked about The Secret Garden, Colin being “healed,” which is my one major issue with anything about that book. Also, I recommended The Splendor Falls to her.

All in all, it was an incredible evening. One more story before I go off to pack (well, two):

First, on the walk to the venue we encountered a group of teen girls. I alternated between feeling jealous and judgey of one of them, who had on bright purple jeans. (is that a THING YOU CAN DO NOW? *wants*) They looked like they were going out to see a rock star.

They were.

We ran into them again in the bathroom of the CPL where they were wondering if Sarah Rees Brennan would remember them (from a video I think?), and if they should make it obvious they recognized her, and otherwise acting like they were at a concert. It made me happy. They were also all squee-y in the signing line ahead of me.

Also, during a discussion about the wireless mic, Roger Sutton, the MC, held it out and sang “Like a virgin, oh!” Everyone laughed except a bespectacled thirteen-year-old behind me who whispers, “I don’t get it. Why’s that funny?”

This event really made me re-fall in love with the YA community. What’s something recently that made you realize why you do what you do? (For my cab driver, probably not the handful of dollar coins I handed him an hour ago)