Over at Absolute Write, I’m reading a thread in which someone is wondering whether they should write a YA SF book with a female lead or not – reasoning that not many girls read science fiction.
It’s nice to see that lots of people are disagreeing with the original poster, reassuring her that she should just write her story the way it needs to be told, because there are a lot of young, female SF readers out there.
I was one, after all.
But for that very reason I do sympathise with the poster in question – they mention that they didn’t know many girls like themselves when they were younger, and it was the same for me.
I was devouring science fiction and fantasy all the way from primary school onwards. Did I know anyone else doing the same? No. Sure, other kids read the Narnia series, and perhaps a few got onto The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, but I didn’t know anyone reading Diana Wynne Jones.
As I got older, I was the only one of my friends reading Asimov or Arthur C Clarke and most certainly the only one with a few (ahem) Star Trek novelisations – see, the embarrassment still lingers!
Fortunately times have changed and the popularity of Harry Potter and the Hunger Games trilogy amongst others have meant there are a hell of a lot more teenagers and younger kids willing to read whatever looks interesting – regardless of genre. Similarly, while boys may historically not been so keen to read books with female leads, there are more female readers anyway. They need good books. I’m not a YA writer, but if I was I wouldn’t worry about whether I should target young girls for my readership or not – I’d just go for it.