The best feminist YA fiction is fun to read and generates discussions about the issues facing women today, according to US author E Lockhart, currently touring in the UK.
Lockhart’s new novel The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, published by Hot Key Books last month, is about a girl who takes on an elite all-male society at school, and Lockhart said society must continue to talk about the kind of “unspoken misogyny” described in the book.
“Feminism has made amazing gains in rights for women in many countries, so yes, it is getting better — but women still don’t have equal rights and reproductive freedom in so many places, including the US,” she told The Bookseller.
When Lockhart started writing the book, she envisaged it as a story of campus life, but soon realised that “a bunch of pranks is not a book… The pranks came first, Frankie’s feminist anger came later.”
She added: “I think a lot of the best feminist YA fiction out there is terrific fun to read. For example, Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor, Wildlife by Fiona Wood, Chime by Franny Billingsly, Looking for Alaska by John Green, Every Day by David Levithan — all those books are great stories, entertainingly told, and you can have a great discussion about the issues they raise.”
Lockhart is currently in the UK to talk about The Disreputable History... as well as her debut We Were Liars, which was one of the word-of-mouth hits of the summer, generating sales of 8,006 copies through Nielsen BookScan.
She said she was surprised at the success of We Were Liars, which is about a privileged young girl, whose recovery after an accident hides a more uncomfortable truth. “Hot Key Books worked very hard to find an audience for this book, so when it came out I was happy all their hard work paid off.”
Lockhart is now working on a new YA novel, which has “a little bit of murder”, that will probably be released in about 18 months time.
The author will be speaking at Waterstones Picadilly tonight (2nd December) at an event chaired by Anna James, editor of The Bookseller's sister site We Love This Book.