The 21st century has showcased a range of revelation’s and tragedies that have changed the path of future generations. Each generation has been impacted by life altering moments that have influenced the mind set of others, such as the year woman could vote and when gay marriage became legal. These monumental moments in history came at no easy cost. As the world has become more literate – now when it starts to rain, it pours. Due to recent events and more individuals speaking out for themselves, authors are finding new ways to communicate through their writing. It is debatable to suggest that authors are now creating stronger movements through their stories than any other form of advertising or marketing. So the question is, are authors actually shaping the mind set of future generations?
There are many influential books, which have been released. Mainly focusing on the LGBT community and racial issues. The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas adopted the last words of Eric Garner “I can’t breathe”. These words later started the Black Lives Matter movement. Thomas focuses her storyline on gun violence relating to gang crimes and police brutality, highlighting the life of a black teenage girl and how racism is still relevant in the 21st century. Not only is Thomas showcasing that as a generation there is much more change needed in regards to people of colour, but that stereotypes still need to be broken. The Hate You Give allows readers from both perspectives to either understand the emotional trauma or help generate an understanding. Recent events have also illustrated the notions of this storyline, creating a worldwide movement throughout all generations and races.
A relatable read to The Hate You Give is Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson. NPR dive into the storyline by showcasing a high school student with “coal skin and hula-hoop hips” starts to believe that the only way to succeed is by changing her environment or where she came from. By writing about a disadvantaged and minority community and how society still codons prejudiced towards these individuals relates to many young adults and adults. Piecing Me Together focuses on a young black female, this young-adult novel is relatable to every individual in disadvantaged and minority communities. With a large emphasis on educational programmes including all the ups and downs that they provide. Watson highlights that society still has double standards in place and that opportunities are few and far between. As well as how the educational system is
It is not only racial and demographic issues that are currently being promoted in recent reads. Waterstones along with many other large book retailers now have sections for LGBT storylines. The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson sets the scene of a straight girl stuck in a boy’s body, with scenarios illustrating the all too common violent incidents of bulling. Many readers can relate to this heart wrenching read, either due to bulling or the agony of having to hide ones real identity. It is not only aimed at young readers as many adults are also still facing these real life situations. Williamson shows how easy it is to make assumptions about the “typical” girl or boy and actually makes the reader consider what does normal actually mean? This storyline is capturing the attention of headlines and readers and lending a hand to the individuals struggling to make that final step.
As personal identity is becoming more important among generations, authors are starting to put an emphasis on body image. Big Bones by Laura Dockrill creates a witty and emotional read about loving yourself no matter what you look like. Issues are brought of body image for overweight and underweight individuals, to challenge the social norm. Also highlighting female imperfection and the societal pressure to meet beauty standards, which Book and Munches talks about. By creating the storyline in a secondary school setting, it becomes more relatable to the current generation, who are going through the same struggles. Especially due to the focus on secondary schools pushing higher education and that it is ok to choose something else.
These books are within the “Young Adult” category and it seems that authors are trying to target readers at this age, which is between 16 and 25. This age is beneficial for an author to be able to mirror social situations for young adults, which allows for a window for adults to alter their perspective. As 80% of 18-29 year olds read at least one book compared to other age groups who reached 65% or under, it is easy to see which target audience is more accessible. As much as authors are trying to target an age group which is the most influenced, many readers are put off by covers. Thus some of the most effective books can be the ones that are the most ignored. As hurdles keep appearing within the any individual’s life and social catastrophes continue to occur throughout the world, it is easy for any individual to get lost inside a book for a moment. Authors are making larger statements with their writing and are looking at changing readers perspectives, paving the path for the generation ahead.