“There is work to be done” // This Week on Our Shelf Life

We at The Passed Note dredge the flood of young adult news each week to bring you up to speed on the latest goings-on in the YA world. From author interviews to new book releases, we’ve got you covered! We adore YA, and we want to share that joy with you.

This past week, we had to work harder to secure our joy. As the results of the Presidential Election surfaced, so too did our devastation. We felt shocked. Hurt. Betrayed. Fearful. We were basically told that our #ownvoices don’t matter, that the work we’ve been striving to accomplish in the past eight years—and longer—doesn’t matter.

But despite our initial shock, we realized something. Change is a process. Change is bravery. Change is affirming a cause in the face of heartbreak. And we vow to represent and support the full spectrum of young adult literature, to support diversity. To support love.

This letter from #WeNeedDiverseBooks president Ellen Oh beautifully captivates not only the importance of diversity, but the perseverance needed to continue to effect change, particularly considering recent events. “We can do this,” she writes. “But we can also work harder for a better future for our future generations. For as Walter Dean Myers said in his last NYT op ed in March of 2014 ‘There is work to be done.’” We couldn’t agree more.

How can you support diversity? Read books by diverse authors about diverse characters. Change your experience, gain new understanding. Then talk about it. Tweet. Lend your new favorite books to your family and friends to support the conversation. Need some reading recs? Here’s an excellent list by Teen Vogue you might consider using as a jumping off point.

As always, we’re huge proponents of all things girl-power. Check out these “gun-slingin’, Fire-startin’, Freedom-savin’ YA Heroines.”

We are super excited for Tara Sim’s Timekeeper, which hit shelves this week. It’s YA meets fantasy meets LGBTQ+ meets romance meets steampunk. Gimme, gimme, gimme!

Finally, the Miami Book Fair kicks off this Sunday and will be spotlighting YA, something that hasn’t occurred in past fairs. The stigma against MG and YA fiction being inferior to adult fiction is being combatted by authors such as Melissa de la Cruz and Alexandra Bracken. So too is the sexist ideology that YA is predominantly for girls. Miami Book Fair programming director Nicole Swift had this to say about some of the featured books: “A lot of the books are based on fairy tales, and…the term ‘fairy tale’ is gendered. It’s cemented in our subconscious that for some reason, fairy tales are a girl thing. But these readings are not girly writing. Sometimes it’s fantasy, but sometimes they’re made into thrillers.”

We’re delighted to see the hard work of so many authors pay off. But there’s still much to be done. The Passed Note is our humble contribution, a piece of our hearts and love, to you—teens, lovers of YA, LGBTQ+, differently abled, immigrant, Muslim, Latino. For everyone searching, everyone questioning. For all who feel alone. We support diversity. We support YOU.


We are now accepting submission for Issue Three! Interested in contributing to the YA conversation? Submit here.

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