Yesterday I made one of my offhand comments on Twitter about how I wished there were more humor in YA novels. (It seemed to me there used to be more, and maybe I was waxing nostalgic.) Sometimes on Twitter I'll get a few comments or retweets, but I think it's safe to say this particular tweet got more of a response than anything else I've ever said there. The overwhelming sentiment was, "Yes, please!"
was also some discussion of why we all think there isn't enough funny in
our teen lit. Here are just a few of the thoughts others shared:
@BethanyRobison (Bethany Robison): I think maybe funny is just really difficult to do well?
(Jaclyn Dolamore): For me it's that the funniest things are very
specific and you have to know the world SO well but you also have to
convey that to the reader. Like, you all have to know. That's hard.
@crissachappell (Crissa Chappell): I think humor = POV...how the character sees absurdity in the world.
@MissWendyD (Wendy Darling): Even books that aren't specifically humorous could use some levity, you know?
(Brian Farrey-Latz): I see very, very, very little humor in my inbox.
So "fewer people write it" could be one reason. Also: humor VERY
@justinelavaworm (Justine Larbalestier): I've been told multiple times: funny is for middle grade.
Funny middle grade books sell better than funny YA ...
@cindysku (Cindysku): middle grade readers are growing up and they still want funny.
@rebekahswm (Rebekah Weatherspoon): do we need to maintain the illusion that teens are all moody and tortured?
(Teen Librarian Toolbox): I feel like sarcasm & snark are
represented, but where is the slapstick? The No More Dead Dogs? The LOL?
of course, there ARE humorous books out there, and people also shared
recommendations in tweets, DMs, and email. I'm going to list the authors
whose names were brought to me as examples. I will provide this caveat:
I haven't read all these authors, so I don't know if I would find them
funny. I don't know if you would find them funny. And not everything
they've ever written may be humorous. Also, "humor" may mean anything
along the spectrum from subtle hints to a sprinkling of jokes to a
riotous laugh-fest. But someone somewhere found these authors funny
enough to recommend, so you might want to check them out.
added a few names that came to my own mind, but I'm sure I'm missing
names. So feel free to leave suggestions in the comments.
Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman (co-authors)
James P. Blaylock
Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (co-authors)
Shaun David Hutchinson
Sarah Rees Brennan
Jonathan A. Stroud