Discussion Time: Why is There So Much Girl Hate in YA Fiction?

Discussion posts are something I’ve been thinking about adding to my blog for a while now and the New Year seemed like a perfect time to start, let’s just pretend I posted this sometime in January rather than waiting until the end of February to get started.

Granted this does depend on my blogging/reading schedule but I’d like to post these two times a month. I’m not sure how this will work so please bear with me for the first few posts as I work out the format and the writing style and everything else that comes with posting discussions on WordPress, but now onto the topic;

why-is-there-so-much-girl-hate-in-ya-fiction

Why is There So Much Girl Hate in YA Fiction?

If any of you have been following Liam’s Obsidian Chapter Recap posts over at Hey Ashers you’ll remember the moment Katy and Ash meet for the first time and it’s hate at first sight. There’s a flimsy reason in the book why Ash doesn’t like Katy but when it boils down to it the main reason is likely Daemon’s affections (and based on Liam’s chapter recaps that’s not a prize any girl should be fighting over.)

obsidian-series

This seems to be a trend in YA fiction and honestly I’m starting to get tired of them. What kind of messages does it send to readers that the only female relationships they can have are ones based on mutual hatred and petty squabbling? The more I think of it the more I struggle to come up with any female relationships that aren’t girl hate ones or familial relationships, and don’t get me wrong it’s great to see a sisterly bond like the kind Scarlett and Tella have in Caraval but it’s not quite the same.


RoseBlood is the book I read the most recently that I noticed this trend in but it’s certainly not the only one out there. When Rune arrives in her new school, because of her musical possession curse, she ends up stealing the spotlight from another girl and showing her up during her audition for the end of year musical. And from that second we, as readers, were supposed to root for Rune and support her in her battle for supremacy over Katarina.

RoseBlood

“About Katarina,” I wind my hair into a side braid, tying the ends in a knot. “Is she the kind to hold grudges?”
“You bet she is.”
Great. Could things get any worse?

The introduction we get to Katarina’s character is that she is the Queen Bee at RoseBlood – the girl who has never had any competition for the lead role, is determined and ambitious, and has a crush on a boy – and from that information alone we are supposed to root for Rune to knock her down a few pegs. If you think about the story from Katarina’s point of view, especially during that first interaction the characters have, Rune appears from nowhere and shows her up for a role she has been working towards for years. Surely it’s understandable that she has a little bit a grudge towards the other girl.

Couldn’t their story have turned out differently?

Instead though Katarina is cast as a direct competition for Rune throughout RoseBlood and there’s nothing redeemable about her character from the interactions they have.


It’s not just the disturbing trend of girl hate in YA fiction but the lack of female friendships overall. In The Raven Cycle series, which is still one of my all-time favourites, there is no female friendship for Blue although she does have her family to provide some of the female relationship dynamic. I can name a lot of strong male friendships – Gansey, Ronan, Adam and Noah from the Raven Cycle, and Kell and Rhy from the Shades of Magic series – and even more friendships between a male and female character – Sam and Miel from When the Moon Was Ours, and Juliette and Kenji from the Shatter Me series – but hardly any female friendships.

I’m not saying get rid of any of these dynamics; the banter between Rhy and Kell is one of my favourite aspects of the Shades of Magic series, and the support Kenji and Juliette offer one another was wonderful to read. All I’m saying is give us more healthy girl friendships that aren’t built on a basis of backstabbing and thinly veiled threats.


Now Onto the Discussion Part of This Post:

Have you read many books that feature girl hate between two characters? What are your opinions on those kind of relationships in YA fiction?

Are there any books you can recommend with strong female friendships (I’m seriously looking for recommendations here people)?

Or, on the other hand, do you enjoy reading relationships like that between Rune and Katarina? If so what about them do you enjoy reading?

Let me know in the comments below.

Advertisements

102 thoughts on “Discussion Time: Why is There So Much Girl Hate in YA Fiction?

  1. Ugh, yes. I hadn’t noticed it until now, but there are so few strong female friendships in YA fiction!

    I have to say, I love the friendship between Emily and Sloane in Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson. Even though the book is about Sloane disappearing and Emily learning how to be adventurous without her, we still see how much they love each other through Emily’s memories and the letter Sloane leaves behind. Their time apart actually gives them a stronger, healthier friendship in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It seems to be one of those things you don’t notice until it’s pointed out simply because there are so few strong female friendships. At least that’s how it was for me, it’s become almost the norm to not have female friendships in books which is a real shame.
      Yes Since You’ve Been Gone is the only Morgan Matson book I’ve read at the moment but it’s a great story simply for the friendship. You can tell the two had a really strong one just from Emily’s memories and it did get a lot healthier and stronger at the end. Just a great story all in all! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love that you’ve added discussion posts to your blog! And this is a great topic. I’ve definitely noticed the sheer lack of female friendships in many of the YA series I’ve read over the years. It seems that a good many authors don’t believe that girls can hold meaningful relationships with one another during their teen years (or within their youth in general). I’ve read so many dynamic M/M and M/F friendships that I’m really grateful for, but I feel I’m still searching for that memorable, close bond between female characters. There are only a few F/F freindships I can think of but each have their issues.

    Nehemia and Celaena were close, but even that relationship devolved due to mistrust and the time they had together was so short. Rose and Lissa in the Vampire Academy and Karou and Suzanna from Daughter of Smoke and Bone have pretty strong relationships, but they pale in importance and strength when compared to the romantic relationships in the books. And there’s also the Wanda/Mel friendship from The Host, but it’s a really unconventional one. Even so, I loved the dynamic they had! But yeah, I really can’t think of many others right now haha. I so wish there were more I could name with surety :/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Azia, yeah discussion posts were a long time coming on this blog but I am glad I decided to start them finally! 😀 It’s something I feel like I was only recently aware of, like it’s become so common for me to read books without female friendships that I’ve come to expect the lack of them in books and it’s only when someone actually pointed it out to me that I realised it.
      Girls are definitely capable of maintaining meaningful relationships in high school, pretty much the five best friends I have are best friends I made in high school, as we’ve stayed really close as well. I felt Nehemia and Celaena definitely had potential but you’re right their relationship seemed to dissolve too quickly. And based on Vampire Academy and Daughter of Smoke ad Bone t seems female relationships are all too used to being pushed to one side to make room for the romantic development, not really ideal in my mind.
      Here’s hoping one day we’ll have more we can name with surety. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I certainly didn’t realize it until you pointed it out!
        And I agree, many female friendships I know of originated in high school or at least college! So not sure why authors are so set on believing/imagining otherwise.
        Hopefully female friendships will exist in tandem with the romantic relationships and maintain their importance just as well in YA books in the near future! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I guess high school can be a bitchy and girl hate-y place but it’s also a place where life-long friendships are formed and you never seen that as much in books.
        I’d certainly love to see more female friendships in YA books, I love seeing them now but we need more! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great discussion! I’m very happy to see you doing these kinds of posts now and I’ll look forward to your future topics! 🙂
    I LOVE it when books have strong female friendships, they tend to be my favourite part of any book. The latest one that I read, that had a great friendship, was Iron Cast. Though I had some problems with that book, the female friendship in it was amazing! 😀
    I really dislike reading about girl hate in books. Especially in YA where authors should set examples of good friendship and relationships in general. Though when I was in high school there was a lot of girl hate in my class. Basically we were divided in the popular ones and the unpopular ones. (Basically they proclaimed themselves as popular. I was, obviously, in the unpopular crowd.) And they would insult and look down on the unpopular ones. Nobody really liked each other outside of their groups. Sooo I find girl hate kind of realistic…though it pains me to admit that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Anna, yeah I’m excited to start posting some discussions on here as well, just need to work out what my next one will be on. 🙂
      I’ve been seeing Iron Cast around a lot recently so if you say it has a strong female friendship well that’s all the more reason to pick it up isn’t it?
      I think in high school you do get girl hate, it’s just one of those things that happens, but I think in books sometimes you see authors and stories where the girl hate characters are prioritized over the female friendships. And yes there were mean girls in my school as well but there were more good friends that I had. I guess I’d just like to see more strong friendships than anything else.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Lauren, it’s been a while in the works but I’m glad I got around to this one as well! 😀
      Yeah there needs to be less of it; less of competing girls against one another and more seeing them develop strong bonds between them. 🙂

      Like

  4. You’re right, this is such a pervasive trope. It seems to me that the lack of female friendships is much more common in fantasy than in any other YA subgenre. Even though YA fantasy has more female MCs than adult fantasy tends to, they still overwhelmingly interact with guys. Even Maggie Stiefvater, my queen, only has one series that had any girl friendships significant enough for me to remember the names of both characters. Coincidentally, that’s in arguably the least supernatural/magical of her books (Wolves of Mercy Falls).

    I’d guess contemporary books have the best rate of female friendships, even though they’re still susceptible to girl-hate. Sarah Dessen has some great ones, especially in The Truth About Forever. The His Fair Assassin series by Robin LaFevers has some sweet friendships between the MCs, though they border on sibling status since they were all three partially raised together. The friendship is mostly long-distance, because the characters are often in different places to facilitate the plot, but even the one I initially thought was being set up for some girl-hate is supported and deeply cared for by the other two 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think lack of female friendships is a major thing in fantasy more than any other genre, but for the most part I’ve seen girl hate in contemporary more than anywhere else. Yeah I noticed that about Maggie Stiefvater. She’s one of my favourite authors but in terms of The Raven Cycle there is no strong female friendship, and it’s the same with some of my other favourite series as well which is such a shame because would it really hurt to have added another female character for the female MC to interact with?
      I love Sarah Dessen, and I think her books are great at developing friendships and, if there is ever girl hate, it’s there for a valid reason relevant to the story you know? I haven’t read the His Fair Assassin series but it sounds interesting so I’ll definitely be adding it to my to-read list.
      Thanks for the recommendation! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a very important topic, especially in YA books because for a lot of people who start reading at a young age that’s the introduction they’ll have to literature. Sometimes girls don’t get along, just like sometimes girls don’t get along with boys, and sometimes boys don’t get along with boys, but it is crucial that we also see situations where friendships work out well, because, as you say, that’s also a part of life (and it’s the part we should focus on); and if there’s rivalry, it had better be explained well from all sides rather than used as an easy plot device!

    If you’re still looking for recommendations of positive female friendships, you should check out Mindy McGinnis’ The Female of the Species. This book is primarily about the need to stand up against rape, but there are some great relationships in it–including some girl friendships. There is one character who’s not quite portrayed as “the mean girl” but does seem to be the very stereotypical tiny-cheerleader-stealing-boyfriends-and-getting-away-with-everything type that another female character despises at first, but McGinnis does a great job of turning even this situation around and giving each character the depth and support they deserve before the end of the book.

    I think YA has really been improving lately as far as sending more positive messages to its readers in the last few years, but clearly there are still some things to watch for. I almost gave up YA a couple of years back because it seemed like it was getting to be all the same and when there was a message, it felt patronizing. But lately I’ve seen a lot better things coming from the YA category, and I think the future holds more great things in store for it. But pointing out problems like this with girl hate is definitely the first step in making those changes it still needs. Thanks for posting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought so as well. For older readers of YA we know to take these things with a pinch of salt so to say, but for younger readers they’re likely to be more influenced by this kind of thing and it’s not a good thing for them to learn at a young age.
      I agree, I’m not saying get rid of girl hate completely, because like you said it does happen in real life and I guess it’s important books represent real life problems young readers will have, but at the same time we need to see, and at the moment we need to see more, situations where friendships are positive and actually work out.
      I’m always going to be looking for recommendations, and The Female of the Species sounds wonderful. I am definitely adding it to my to-read list and it will likely be one I get to pretty quickly as well because it sounds like an important book. I’m glad you thought the girl hate was turned around and not made a stereotypical version of that trope.
      YA has been improving, I’ve noticed it as well especially when it comes to offering more diverse reads, but there’s still a fair way to go as I think there may always be. A while back I pretty much gave up on YA as well, I’m back now and there is definitely an improvement comparing the books on the shelves now to the books on the shelves when I was a teenager.
      That’s all right, I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ouuuh very interesting discussion post! I’m sure you’ll continue to have great ideas for your discussion posts. These posts do help in creating interaction and finding out more pros and cons to whatever the topic is. As for strong female relationships, it is a shame to hear there aren’t many of those in YA novels. Maybe it’s because authors and peepz think that the hate between girls is something far more common? Would definitely be nice if there were more positive girl relationships though.

    – Lashaan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Lashaan, I’m hoping so. I’m aiming to post the second one next weekend so I’ll have to come up with something before then.
      It’s definitely a great way to interact with other bloggers. I’ve loved talking with everyone about this issue so far.
      In a way I can see why hate between girls is common, but it’s more than in a lot of YA books girl hate seems to take the place of strong female friendships. Either way more positive relationships are a must! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Uhhh yes why all the girl hate?? I am scanning my bookshelves trying to find something with some good girl friendship but all I can really come up with is the Lunar Chronicles, a book I am currently reading is The Other Slipper by Kenechi Udogu which has some good female friendships but they aren’t super developed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It does seem to be an unfortunate norm in books nowadays. There aren’t many books on my shelves that have strong female friendships, though I do love The Lunar Chronicles.
      Good female friendships are a decent start, I’ll have to check out The Other Slipper in that case. 🙂

      Like

      1. Yeah, it’s actually pretty damaging because personally going into high school I was expecting a lot of girl hate and was incredibly surprised that I am friends with basically all the girls in my year at least to some extent.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Great discussion post! I hope you continue to write them because I enjoyed this one! As for the topic, I’ve noticed it and it wasn’t until you pointed it out that I really noticed it you know? There are better ways to introduce a female character.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Meghan, and I am definitely going to continue posting discussions. I’m just trying to work out what my next one should be! 😀
      I know what you mean. I didn’t notice it that much until someone pointed it out to me. I guess in some ways that just goes to show how much it really is out there if we see it as the norm now.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve no idea why there’s less female friendships, or why there’s always some sort of rivalry between female characters. Sure, it happens, but a lot of the time it feels like female rivalry is there for added unnecessary drama. And when there’s a good female friendship, just like with male friendships they tend to be so loyal, always with the mindset of “I’ve got your back”. How would that not be good to write about? I love the friendships in Holly Bourne’s Spinster Club trilogy, it’s so realistic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly, I sometimes find that rivalry between female characters can be like love triangles in that they’re both added to create tension in a story. I don’t want the unnecessary drama, I just want a story about strong friendships. I have the Spinster Club trilogy on my to-read list, I may have to move it up after hearing you say that Ashleigh. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. WONDERFUL discussion post Beth! This is a topic that I am very passionate about, i’m always on the lookout for female friendships in my books and they are few & far between. The last 2 arcs I’ve read however have shown strong female ties. The Valiant and Long May She Reign featured strong female friendships. I am not a fan of the mean girls dynamic & really dislike when YA books take a turn down this road. I am the girl who has always wanted a bromance with my female friends but it’s never happened HAHA! I’m all for more female friendships that showcase empowerment & just overall uplifting and sincerity…so rare I know but one can hope *fingers crossed*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Lilly, and actually it’s become a topic I feel pretty passionately about. After writing this post I am more aware of the lack of female friendships, and in some cases female interactions, in books.
      I’ll be sure to check out both those books then, definitely need more strong female friendships on my to-read list.
      Well we’re seeing more diversity in YA now than we were a few years ago so maybe some day we’ll start seeing more female friendships rather than the mean girl dynamic which only seems to be included to add tension in the story.
      I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed with you Lilly! 😀

      Like

  11. Ahh this is SUCH a great post and so so important. I adore my bromances (The Raven Boys and Kell and Rhy are so so perfect) and male-female friendships, but the fact that there is so little female healthy relationships is so troubling. My friends are one of the biggest parts of my life, and I get along with other girls perfectly fine, and I know the majority of women out there can say the same ; where is this idea that women can only exist as enemies coming from? I would so love to have more HEALTHY female friendships in books; my bromances are so dear to my heart, it would be great if I had female friendships (fromances?? Lol) that I love in books as well. ❤️ Lovely discussion post, Beth!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bromances are amazing, and I love reading the relationships between The Raven Boys and Kell and Rhy so much don’t get me wrong, but we need to see the same thing but with female friendships don’t we? I think that idea comes from high school, you have people that have to deal with bullies and I guess that seems to have transferred to main characters in YA books having to deal with girl hate all the time. But they don’t include female friendships which is a massive part of high school as well, more than girl hate and bullies.
      Fromances is a great term, and one we should really start using. Yes we need more fromances in books! 😀
      Thanks so much Analee. ❤

      Like

  12. I scrolled through my read list and realised only 4/98 books/series have a real female friendship as an important subplot:
    Dreadnought by April Daniel
    The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova
    The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
    Wax by Gina Damico

    I’m actually a bit shocked and I’m asking myself: what message does an author send? I’m an adult and I know authors often use stereotypes as side characters. However, a young reader might think this behavior is normal.

    On other hand, there’s also a truth in this trend. In the Netherlands we have a theory called the crab basket effect (I probably translated it wrong). If the crabs tries to climber out the basket at the same time, none of the crabs will escape. Women have the tendency to pull a woman back down if she becomes too succesful. There’s often an undercurrent of rivalry and jealousy between women. We never talk about but it’s there. So from this point of view it’s understandable that authors portray friendships/relationships between girls in that kind of way. Still, I think this is shame in both stories and real life.

    Wow, what an interesting topic to think about. I’m looking forward to other topics you come up with. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah that’s not a lot is it, and although I’ve read the Throne of Glass series I haven’t read the other three so I will be adding them onto my to-read list. I’m also sure there are others out there and I agree with what you mean about authors using stereotypes in books for the side characters. There’s only so much character development you can do if you want to include a plot, world building and not have the book be a thousand odd pages long, but it doesn’t send a good message that the only female relationships these main characters have are negative ones.
      Ohh, that’s actually interesting about the crab basket effect, and I think it makes sense too. There is an undercurrent of rivalry and jealousy so I guess it makes sense to see that in books, but it would be nice if as well as having that negative relationship there were more positive ones to balance it out.
      Thanks so much Chantal, I’m glad you enjoyed this post. 🙂

      Like

  13. I agree…I was just on Twitter commenting about this subject with another blogger last week! I recently finished reading The Star Touched Queen and was reviewing it for a Battle of the Books between teen librarians, and I commented in the review that the main character didn’t have a single friend or a community around her. She was isolated with her insta-love guy, and it was playing it as if it were romantic, but I felt it was a bad example to the YA audience. Showing real female friendships is important!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is definitely a subject I know people have talked about before. I spoke about it with another blogger before which is how I came up with the idea for this post.
      The Star-Touched Queen is a really good example as well, in that one there’s pretty much no female relationship at all is there, in fact no real relationship outside of Maya and Amar which is definitely a bad example for YA readers. There are a few books I can think of that do the same thing, don’t give the female character a female influence at all, instead they’re surrounded by males.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And while Maya was still in her father’s harem before she married Amar, she stated that she had no friendships there. The only connection she had was with a much younger half sister. Authors seem to want their females to be too good or above other females, which is a lazy way of propping up a character.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Exactly, and you’d think having a harem full of female characters would have given some opportunity to develop some of them into strong friends.
        I get what you mean, I don’t think anyone wants to see female characters propped up that way, especially at the expense of decent character development you know?

        Liked by 1 person

  14. So for some recommendations of books with strong female friendships:
    Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
    Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
    Gabi a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
    Fangirl (if you count sisters as strong female friendships) by Rainbow Rowell
    This Side of Home by Renee Watson

    I used to do a series called Feature Shelf. I may bring it back for this topic, so thank you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for the recommendations. I have read Daughter of Smoke and Bone and I LOVE Karou and Zuzana’s relationship, same with Fangirl and the female relationships in that book. I will be sure to check out the others as well, I need more books with strong female friendships in! 🙂
      Sounds like a great series, and hey if you have some thoughts on this topic it’d be great to hear them as well so send me a link if you do post something. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I feel like I can’t think of any female friendships off the top of my head (or are the girls in The Lunar Chronicles friendly from the start? I can’t seem to remember), which is actually really sad. All I know is that I want female friendships to be represented in all of its forms – but mostly positive. We’ve seen so much of the negative kind, it’s about time we see all those positive female friendships!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was hard to think of any for me as well, I’m not sure if it’s because there aren’t that many or I’m just not reading the right books. The Lunar Chronicles I count because there’s still Iko and Cinder even if you take away everyone else.
      Exactly, sometimes it seems like if there’s a choice between including a strong female friendship or girl hate people will choose the latter simply because it adds to the tension in the plot and all.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I don’t think I read enough YA to have a real opinion on this but I did notice a lack of female friendship. I remember being very happy when Celaena and Nehemiah struck a friendship, it was one of the few redeeming elements in the series for me. I did find the women in The Raven Cycle shared a strong kind of friendship, even if it was in no way as present as the boys’ and Blue’s.
    I find it sad that YA books feel the need to pit girls against one another. Female friendships are so important and strong, I wish there were more of them in every genre.
    Great first discussion post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve noticed it more in contemporary books than in fantasy but there are still fantasy books where it happens. Throne of Glass does create some strong female friendships for Celaena which is great to read, and while there were also strong female friendships in The Raven Cycle it was either family or not Blue’s friendships.
      Hopefully it’s a trend that will die out at some point, there are books out there with strong female relationships it’s just a matter of finding them, which is harder than it seems sometimes.
      Thanks Donna. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. This is such a lovely discussion, Beth, and I’m excited to see where you’ll go next with this feature! 🙂 I agree with you, I noticed that so much of the relationships between girls in books are based on hate instead of strong friendship – this is so annoying, and unecessary. I understand that it brings something different to the story, but so does friendship, when it’s done well, because friendship isn’t all about butterflies and rainbows, it is about fights and make-ups just as well 🙂
    Right now the books I can think about portraying a great friendship are Just Visiting, by Dahlia Adler (a story about two girls about to graduate high school and thinking about their future, their differences and how their relationship will change) and Radio Silence by Alice Oseman 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Marie, and yeah I’m excited for my next post as well. Just need to come up with a topic for it! 😀
      It’s an unfortunate trend, and it seems like authors may pick girl hate over friendship to add tension to the plot, but you’re right strong friendship can be a better way to go because friends have fights as well. Also in a way it would be more interesting reading from that angle because if two friends had an argument you’d be more invested in seeing what happened to them than you would the main character and the bitchy mean girl.
      Well I haven’t read either of those so I will be adding them to my to-read list. I do seem to be getting quite a collection so I guess there are books out there, it’s just a matter of finding them. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes exactly! I am way more invested in a friendship that has complications than a simple girl hate. This makes me think about The Unexpected Everything, by Morgan Matson, I can’t remember if you have read it? I really liked the friendships in that book 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  18. I read the fill in boyfriend recently and the whole plot basically centred around girl hate. I couldn’t stand it, I just thought it was horrible and I hate it in books. It’s just so unnecessary to me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I read The Fill-In Boyfriend a while back and I completely get where you’re coming from. I kept hoping at some point Kasie West would turn it around and try to create a friendships between the two characters, kind of like a redemption arc or something, but nope never happened.

      Like

  19. SO MUCH YES FOR THIS ONE. Even Shades of Magic — which we both love — don’t have anything resembling a strong female friendship for Lila or… Emira, or Ojka. Actually it’s probably somewhat lacking in female characters in general, though I’d argue that all three mentioned are very strongly characterised and not just there to be “women”, if that makes sense.

    It’s sometimes really quite disheartening to see female characters in books go without strong female friendships – not saying that women-men friendships are “less”, but it is quite different. Like in my own life it’s my female friends that really gave me that sense of “friendship”, and I don’t think I’ve read any book that actually represents how my friends and I work.

    Great topic and I’m so excited for this new feature of yours, Beth! Can’t wait to see what other things you’ll be discussing. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I remember not even realizing that there were barely any female characters in A Darker Shade Of Magic and only realizing once I was writing my review for the book. I’m glad to read that there are apparently more females coming into play soon (I haven’t read much of book two yet)!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I do love Shades of Magic but yeah it’s definitely one of those books where there isn’t a strong female friendship at all. And actually now I think about it lacking in female characters overall seems to be something I can pick up on in a lot of fantasy books. What you said about Shades of Magic makes sense, Lila and the other female characters aren’t just there for decoration or the further the plot of the male characters, they’re just characters.
      I love reading any kind of friendship in books, be it male/female or otherwise, but I can look around at my bookshelves and pick up so many books that have a male/female friendship and not many that have the same for two female characters. Pretty much all my close friends are female so it would be nice to see that representation in books. Females can be friends without all the girl hate that seems to come along with it.
      Thanks so much Reg, and yeah I’m pretty excited for my next discussion post! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmm, you might be right. I think SJM’s books were also mostly male-focused, with smatterings of female characters here and there… but I’m not superbly familiar with them so I’m probably not the best to speak, haha.

        Ah, me too! Friendships in general are always so lovely to read about – it’s such a huge part of someone’s life, after all. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. There are some strong female friendships in ACOMAF, and a few in the ToG series as well but I think the focus is on Feyre/Celaena with the male characters more than the female ones. Shame because there are some brilliant female characters in both series.

        Like

  20. Beautiful Broken Things by Sarah Barnard – this book is all about the bonds of female friendship and definitely one worth checking out! Otherwise I totally agree – there is so much girl hate in books these days. Which is strange, because in real life most girls have at least one close girl-friend, if not a whole female circle. It is Definitely something I want to see portrayed more in books.

    Great discussion post – I also want to start doing some of these on my blog. Forget February, March isn’t too late to start right lol?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I have that one on my to-read list already (I definitely have a book by Sarah Barnard on there somewhere) but I will be sure to move it up my TBR in that case.
      And yeah you get some people that have to deal with bullies and mean girls in school but in comparison you get most people who have that close circle of female friends, when will that be represented?
      Thanks so much Sarah, and no I’m sure March isn’t too late to start. 😀

      Like

  21. YES to all of this! I was actually talking with Puput @ Sparkling Letters about how much I couldn’t stand girl hate in YA fiction the other day. Literally anytime girl hate pops up in a book I get so frustrated. I remember the whole Ash and Katy thing in the Lux series being my least favorite thing about it. I do know that later on in the books it’s not so much that Katy hates Ash but rather Ash just really doesn’t care for Katy. I think that had more to do with her being human by that point rather than Daemon or anything else. Either way, I didn’t care for that aspect. And I completely agree with your RoseBlood example. I couldn’t stand the use of the “mean girl trope” and girl hate in that book. That was the main reason it wasn’t a five star read for me. The lack of great female friendships really is a problem in YA. There does need to be more. I can only even recall a few books that have fantastic and memorable ones off the top of my head – I’ll Meet You There, Six of Crows, ACOMAF, P.S. I Like You, and Fangirl come to mind. It goes to show that I’ve read more that lack in the female friendship department than anything. Hopefully there are more great female friendships featured in books in the future. Great discussion, Beth!! 💕😁

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah this is a subject I think a lot of people will have discussed at some point in their lives, it’s definitely one I’ve talk about with bloggers before which is kind of what inspired this post. You can start to tell when it’s going to pop up in YA books can’t you? If a character is introduced it only takes a couple of sentences before you’re putting the pieces together and thinking ‘right, this is the girl we as readers are supposed to hate for no reason other than jealousy.’
      If I remember correctly about Obsidian (which I’m not sure I do because I read the series so long ago) the relationship between Katy and Ash does improve a little in the later books but they’re never close friends or anything.
      RoseBlood was the book I read most recently which had girl hate in, made it the perfect example because I could remember it the most clearly but I really didn’t like that part of the story. I do think there was a girl hate character in the Splintered series but it wasn’t as major part of the story the way it was in RoseBlood.
      Compared to the books with girl hate in there’s aren’t that many that have strong female friendships, and if authors want to represent young characters it would be more realistic to include strong friends rather than girl hate in my opinion. I haven’t read I’ll Meet You There but I have the others, I really loved Inej and Nina from Six of Crows, hopefully we’ll see more like that in the future.
      Thanks Melissa! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Definitely! It’s so obvious when it’s going to be used in a book. That’s something I noticed straight away with the last YA contemporary I read, The Sky Between You and Me. They introduced the new girl and before she even actually spoke I could tell they would be using the eventual sort of dislike between her and the MC. I feel like most of the time it’s just there to spice things up with drama or tension but it’s not needed. I feel like perpetuating that girl hate stereotype in YA fiction could be really impressionable on younger readers. I mean, of course, it’s realistic in the sense that it does happen, there is definitely real life drama like that. But it shouldn’t appear so often that it outshines the positive female friendships. Showing more positive female friendships in YA could have a great impact on readers of that age and work towards disbanding the stereotype. Plus, I think we all like it better when YA has great friendships over girl hate.
        Yeah, it does. I reread Origin a couple of weeks ago and I remember when Katy and Daemon meet back up with the group there isn’t really any animosity between them anymore. Not friends or close but possibly more of a mutual respect by that time. 😊
        Now that I think about it I actually think A.G. Howard was loosely playing off of the original story a bit with the girl hate. It didn’t really translate that way though and I didn’t even realize it until now. Definitely wasn’t the best part of the book though.
        There really aren’t! And authors should definitely start promoting/representing the positivity in female friendships rather than the negative. Especially since friendship is such an important part of our lives, even more so when we’re younger. I mean I’ve had bad friendships so it happens but it would be great to see more of the good and less of the bad in YA. Inej and Nina’s friendships is probably one of my top favorites! And you should so read I’ll Meet You There. The friendship between Sky and Dylan is great.
        You’re welcome, Beth!! 😁💕

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I remember you saying that about The Sky Between You and Me, and I always feel really disappointed when I read books that include things like this as well. I get that teenage girls can be bitchy and mean sometimes, believe me I do, but there are so many more examples of when teenage girls have support one another and are just great friends.
        It’s definitely used as a way to add drama and tension, kind of like love triangles sometimes I find. There has got to be a better way of adding drama to a plot than to include girl hate and/or a love triangle. I think there’s a fine line between realistic and too much drama, especially when it comes to younger readers. If they start seeing relationships like that everywhere they’re going to think it’s the norm. I definitely prefer great friendships over girl hate! 🙂
        Mutual respect is good, it’s just a shame the two had to work through the jealousy and meanness to get there.
        Exactly, my friends from when I was younger were a huge part of my life, they still are actually, and it would be great to see relationships like that in books because I think they’re more likely than girl hate is.
        I’m getting even more excited to read I’ll Meet You There now! 😀 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Exactly and there really does have to be a better way of adding drama to book. Much better than using girl hate (or even love triangles). There is definitely a fine line and it’s something I think authors should be more cautious of. We don’t want to make girl hate the norm and a big step in that, reading wise, is for it to stop being used so often. I mean thinking about it now I’m pretty sure more than half of the YA contemporaries I read when I was younger had girl hate or the mean girl which is sad.
        Definitely! Although I’ve lost touch with most of my friends from when I was younger I did have some great friendships and it would be nice to see that reflected more in YA.
        I hope you end up enjoying it whenever you get around to reading it!! 😊💕

        Liked by 1 person

      4. If you have to use girl hate or love triangles to add drama to a book then that book isn’t strong enough in my opinion. A plot needs to be able to stand on it’s own before adding little intricacies into the character’s relationships with one another.
        I would hate to see girl hate become the norm, although part of me feels like it already is, we need to come away from it and create some great female friendships instead.
        Exactly, when I think back on my high school years I don’t remember the mean girls or the bullies, instead I remember my friends and all the good times we had. We need more of that in YA books. 🙂
        Thanks Melissa, I’m sure I will. 😀 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      5. My thoughts exactly! A plot definitely needs to be able to stand on it’s own first.
        Yeah, sometimes it does feel like it’s already the norm. I’ll see things on FB or twitter and be shocked by it. We do need to come away from it and create some great female friendships. We need to stop showing young girls that the way to go is to talk down to other girls.
        Same, I remember that too. Truth be told there was only ever one mean girl at my school and when I refused to acknowledge her being mean she eventually stopped trying. But yeah, we do need more of great female friendships in YA. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      6. It almost seems like if a plot can’t stand on its own authors will add a love triangle or girl hate simply to put a band-aid over it and hide it from th world a little.
        The internet is both a great and terrible place. Some of the things I see I’m shocked by and I’m not on Twitter at all so there’s that. YA books are so important because they reach a lot of young girls and they need to see something more positive than girl hate in the books they read.
        There were only a couple of mean girls at my school. It was pretty much a case of “you avoid us we avoid you”. I stuck with my friends and we ended up OK. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      7. It does seem exactly like that. And it’s sad since there are so many other things that could make a plot better.
        That’s very true. I have a Twitter but I rarely use it because I can’t handle all of the upheaval. I look at author and publisher twitters nowadays but that’s about it. Exactly!
        For me, the mean girl I mentioned happened to have a mutual friend with me. I couldn’t avoid her so I choose to ignore her being mean instead. But with all my other friends it was pretty much the same. I stuck with them and we never had any problems. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Exactly, sometimes I think having a real friendship, with all the high and lows that come with it, can make a plot better.
        Honestly that’s probably what I would do if I had a Twitter. I’m not the most active person on social media most times.
        Oh that’s a shame but I guess if avoiding her was the only thing you could do it must have been the best policy right? Yeah if people stick with the good friends they have everything will be fine in the end won’t it? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Same, I think it would be great if more plots featured such friendships. It’s like all the raving I’ve been hearing about You’re Welcome, Universe and how it features a two different kinds of friendships very realistically.
        Me either, I usually end up just looking through my feeds on other social medias rather than using them to interact lol.
        Yep to both! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Ohh, I’m even more excited to get around to You’re Welcome Universe in that case. There are plenty of ways you can write friendships to make them more interesting than the standard girl hate trope.
        It’s what I’ll likely do when I create more social media accounts for my blog as well! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  22. yesssss to all of this!! i think it’s sad that there aren’t much female friendships. i feel like females are already placed in competition with one another because of society standards so when books also show this, it doesn’t break the society standard. it frustrates me a lot that we either see no female friendships in books or we see females in rivalry instead of empowering one another. this trope very much needs to end!! not just in books but in real life as well. amazing post Beth, hope to see more discussions in the future.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It would definitely be nice to see more female friendships in YA books. And I do get that it’s societies standards that put females in competition with one another but in my experience in real life there are more friendships than competitions you know?
      I’m hoping it’s a trope we do see end someday, for now though I’ll settle for seeing more strong friendships in books, especially in books which have a girl hate storyline.
      Thanks so much Gretchen. 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  23. I absolutely agree — this is such a huge issue in YA, and I think it’s so, so problematic, especially if we take into consideration the targeted age group: I know I was super impressionable at that age, and if I had only read books where girls are pitted against each other or where girl characters denounce friendships between girls because “girls are just so dramatic, not like boys, hardy har har,” I think it really would have impacted the way I interact with other women. And not in a good way.

    I think specifically of the narrative where it is the Nice Underdog vs. The Mean Slut: nice girl protagonist going against the popular girl who is mean to her for no reason and has probably slept around with a bunch of people to prove how “immoral” and “horrible” she is. Like sure, there are people who are mean in high school, but most of these Mean Girls are reduced down to his ugly trope and seem to be cruel without any reason — which lends to the idea that women just can’t stand to be friends with each other, and that’s just. Not true at all. The majority of my most meaningful friendships are with women. It’s such a damaging thing to see in fiction, but especially in YA, and I’m so glad that you decided to talk about it and open up this discussion!!

    I’m trying to think of friendships between girls that I’ve seen in YA, and I honestly can’t think of ANY. Which, is just downright depressing. I’m definitely going to have to look into fixing that pretty soon. I asked a friend of mine, and she recommended Since You’ve Been Gone and The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, but I haven’t read either of them so I can’t attest to that personally!!

    I hope that your future discussion posts go well!! I’ve also been wanting to do things like this in the new year, and I always get so lazy or can’t think of anything this good, so FANTASTIC job on that!! I look forward to more of your discussion posts in the future!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes that is exactly it. If you’re a young reader, still at that age where you’re more impressionable by the things you read, and all you see on the shelves are books where there are either no strong female friendships or girl hate then it’s going to change the way you interact with people. One of the things I remember from when I was in high school is that, yes there were mean girls, but there were more groups of friends than anything else so why aren’t we seeing this in YA fiction?
      That does seem to be the popular way to go in books, or commonly when the main character comes in and captures the boys attention she’s warned off by the mean girl who has a crush on that boy as well. They’re not great tropes, girl hate is one thing but girl hate over guys is another all together. It kind of reminds me of a scene from a movie (I can’t for the life of me think which one) where someone talks about how as girls we have to stick together, and to call one another mean names just makes other people (probably boys) think it’s OK to call us those names as well.
      I have read Since You’ve Been Gone and really enjoyed that one, it’s definitely a good example of a strong female friendship, and I haven’t read The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants but it’s on my to-read list somewhere. There aren’t many, I know looking at my bookshelves that I couldn’t pick out many books where there is an example of a strong female friendship.
      Thanks so much, and hopefully you’ll be able to come up with something. You’ve still got time before the new year is over to think of a topic for a discussion post. Now I need to think of my next one! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Great post! I agree that there should be more girl friendships in books instead of girl hate. But. From my personal experience, that was high school for me. I really had one true girl friend… and it seemed like a lot of girls hated me for no reason. Not just me, but each other as well. And I never could understand that. I know that’s not the case at every high school or for every girl, but I can definitely relate to it when reading about it. But like I said, I still think it would be a great idea to show some girl love in YA literature, just to show these girls that it doesn’t have to be that way.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks so much Megan, and yeah high school can go either way. I had the mean girls in school as well, high school seemed to be pretty click-y, but I had a good circle of really strong friends who I am still close to today.
      I can relate to some of the girl hate characters out there, I’m sure most people can if they’ve been to high school, but there’s just so many and not enough strong female friendships to balance it out so to speak.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. What a great post! You’re totally correct! I abhor girl hate in YA fiction, primarily when they reason they hate one another has to do with a guy. Like you said, this sends a horrible example to many young women reading YA fiction. I’m in my twenties, so I can read a novel and pick up on the terrible examples and ignore it, but I fear for the younger generations – 14, 15, 16 year olds – who don’t have my experience and hate on a female character simply because the protagonist is jealous and wants the guy for herself. No.

    I recently DNFd “Wintersong” by S. Jae-Jones at only 14% because I could already see a few examples of girl-on-girl hate, this time between sisters. The protagonist, Leisl, constantly compared herself to her prettier sister and frequently laments, “Oh, I’m never going to be as pretty as Kathe, look at her, all the boys love her, blah blah blah.” Please stop. Don’t compare the beauty between two girls. The author practically encourages the reader to hate Kathe for no other reason than she is prettier than Leisl. Again, what kind of bloody message are you sending???

    I agree with you that we need more female friendship representation in YA fiction. Until you mentioned it, I didn’t even notice that Blue in Raven Boys had no strong female friendships (her family does not count). While I love boy/girl platonic friendship, as well as boy/boy platonic friendships, we NEED to see more girl/girl friendships – and strong ones at that. It astounds me that I can’t think of one book that represents that friendship. In highschool, I met my 3 best girlfriends who are still my best friends 11 years later! It is impossible that a YA book – especially one set in high school – does not portray female friendships. Female friendships are real, they are strong, they are so loving – why don’t we see it in YA fiction??

    Anyway, this turned into a rant (whoops) but I agree with you on everything. I have no qualms about DNFing a book if I see even a smidgen of girl hate. In fact, with “Wintersong,” the book was an ARC and I wrote a very lengthy review to the publisher explaining my decision to DNF it. As I said in my review, the author might have been able to get away with this 5 years ago where YA fiction was slowly changing, but crappy novels were still at the forefront – Twilight, etc – but this is 2017 and YA fiction has done a complete 180 and become so inclusive and I love it. Don’t let books return to that time where authors didn’t care about representation or the message they sent to young readers. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much. And yes that seems to be a classic way to establish girl hate in some books – and I mentioned this in another comment – when the new girl arrives, catches the attention of a cute boy, and all of a sudden there’s another girl in her face warning her off because she has a crush on the same boy.
      We do need to see strong female friendships because you’re right in terms of the younger readers of the YA genre they need to see some positive female interaction rather than pointless hate, and over a guy at times no less.
      I read Wintersong recently and yeah I couldn’t connect with Liesl’s character at all and it wasn’t just because of her feelings towards her sister but that probably didn’t help. I can get feeling jealous of a sibling. I have a younger sister and there are times when I’m jealous of her I’ll admit, but it’s never been over her looks. And again it’s the message it’s sending to younger readers who maybe are at a more impressionable age reading all this.
      It’s kind of something you don’t really think about until you actually think about it you know. It wasn’t until I was writing this post that I realised some of my favourite book don’t have any strong female friendships in at all. The Raven Cycle is definitely one of them and yes there are strong relationships between family members it’s not the same as showing a strong relationship between two friends. I’m the same in high school I met my best friends and we’re still just as close all these years later, and actually I don’t really have any close male friends, as much as I enjoy seeing male/female friendships and male/male friendships it’s not the same as seeing female/female friendships which I think are more likely to be formed in high school (you tend to gravitate to the people you have something in common with.)
      Rant away, I feel like this discussion post was a bit of a rant from my end. It’s great YA is changing, we’re seeing more diversity in books which is an amazing thing because like you said it wasn’t that way years ago when Twilight was the in thing, but we need to see more female friendships, it seems to be something that’s slow in coming about.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. This is def a hardcore issue in YA fiction. Like the last really great female friendship I read was The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. And that came out years ago. I hate how girls in fiction are always portrayed as fighting for the spotlight or guys or grades. The way they talk about each other is just judgmental and petty. I’m currently reading Fangirl. And while I love the relationship between Wren and Cath I don’t like that Reagan and Cath make fun of people when they’re together. And Cath is so threatened by Reagan’s previous relationship with Levi. And this happens in books all the time! “You’re such a slut!” How is this EVER an ok way to talk about another female? Oh wait it’s NOT. UGH

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t yet read The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, it’s somewhere on my TBR list, but it sounds like one of those rare books where there is strong female friendships which we really do need to see more of. Yes in high school there are bullies and mean girls but there are more examples of strong friendships formed than anything else.
      Wren and Cath are great in Fangirl, and I must admit having read the book a while ago I can’t remember all the little details of Cath and Regan’s friendship but you’re right the whole ‘you’re a slut for having relationships before’ is never ever going to be OK. It’s like the whole double standard; a guy who dates loads is a player but if a girl does it she’s a slut. Not OK.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. I think RoseBlood is interesting because, on one hand, Rune kind of recognizes that bursting into someone else’s audience and taking over and singing and completely upstaging them is pretty obnoxious. She feel kind of bad about it actually. But then readers basically learn “Well, the other girl is a jerk anyway and probably kind of deserved it, so let’s not worry or even try to apologize or anything.”

    I see girl rivalries in YA books, but not so much I’ve ever thought it was overwhelming. But I also read a lot of fantasy and I think some of this stuff comes out in contemporary books because authors seem convinced that every high school has a mean girl clique and that the protagonist will run into them all the time. I don’t know. I had some “mean girls” in high school, I guess, but avoiding them is pretty straightforward if you’re not really in the same classes or extracurricular activities. But people’s experiences are different.

    I do have conflicting thoughts about YA because 1) I do think it’s great if it can guide readers, help them deal with their lives, become better people, etc., but 2) I also think books are free to just be art/realistic. The fact that a character does something is not a declaration that it’s a good idea or that the reader should do it too. There IS girl on girl hate in the world, so I think books have a right to represent it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh I agree Rune did recognize she was in the wrong there, so to say, but she didn’t try and do anything to fix the situation and just seemed to accept when others said they wanted to see her take Katarina down a few pegs. It’s still, like you said, kind of reinforcing the idea that the other character is a jerk so you can get away with being mean to her if you’re the hero of a YA book.
      I do notice it more in contemporary books, and it’s actually since I’ve started reading contemporary books that I noticed it. Kind of why I didn’t write this post when the majority of books I read where fantasy ones. I get the whole Mean Girl in high school trope, I had a few of them in my school as well and for the most part managed to avoid them, but it seems like in some cases the girl hate is replacing the female friendships in YA books.
      YA does guide readers, and that’s part of the reason I love seeing more diversity in YA books now than when I was a teenager, and yeah the whole ‘just because a character in a book does it doesn’t mean you should’ is also a good point. It’s just that recently I feel like I’ve been seeing more girl hate in YA books than I have strong female friendships, and there are some out there, but I see the former more than the latter.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I was just thinking more about RoseBlood and imagining how this book could easily have been from the “diva’s” point of view. Rune is sympathetic primarily because we get her interiority. But imagine the other girl: You’re excited to be at an elite school, worried about living up to your famous ancestor’s reputation but willing to work. Some New Girl barges in on your audition for the most important production of the year, sings RIGHT OVER YOU, then faints for more attention. She never apologizes because her new friends, bullies, assure her you deserved it and wouldn’t forgive her anyway. They then proceed to “take you down.” All while New Girl hypocritically tells everyone that she hates singing, hates attention, and doesn’t want to be at this dumb school anyway.

        From an outsider’s perspective, Rune is really the jerk. But Howard kind of goes out of her way to inform readers that the *other* girl is the jerk (and got into the school without jumping the proper hoops either!), so Rune’s treatment of her seems “justified.”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. To be honest even in RoseBlood even though the book wasn’t told from the “diva’s” point of view, I still ended up feeling for her more than I did Rune. Rune seemed dead set against pulling this girl down and in my opinion there was nothing she did first that justified that action. Also even if it was implied that the other girl was a jerk for attending the school without jumping through the hoops like you said it was exactly the same case with Rune. There’s nothing about this girl that makes her the jerk over Rune, simply that the story was told from Rune’s POV.
        I think I may have actually enjoyed reading the book from Katarina’s POV instead.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s