Last week I hit a nerve with my post about the New York Times YA Bestsellers list.
Pictures above is this week’s NYT Bestsellers List.
For more context, I wrote about the gender breakdown of the list in November: part one and part two.
People still suggest women “dominate” YA fiction, but I beg to differ. They do better on the YA series list (which is a beast I have yet to look at) but again, it’s worth thinking about what it means when 9 of the 10 NYT Bestsellers are MALE, 4 out of 10 are one single MALE, 2 out of 10 are a close MALE friend of one of those MALES, and the female on the list was connected to the MALE in 4 out of those slots.
Why this worries me is not that it’s John Green. Instead, one reason why it worries me is that when a single TYPE of book dominates a list, then that TYPE of book is what continues to be put into the market. It’s reductive.
The funny thing about the YA list is the bestsellers are largely literary. The series books are something else, and while there are far more women on them than on the regular YA list, they are treated like a different animal—as a friend pointed out, these authors are like Hawthorne’s scribbling hordes. They are producing entertainment, but men are producing the “real” books. You can be a literary writer and be a bestseller in YA fiction—if you are a man.