Don’t Understand #MorallyComplicatedYA? Here’s Some Info.

Whoa! Shannon is posting outside her regularly scheduled posts. What?

Yes. I am. Because this is a big deal.

At first I was only going to share fellow YA female writers who have written morally complex novels that often included violence, but I understand more want actual info…which I will provide links to below. But, before that, here was my original post:


Many of you probably saw me lose my lid last night and all day today. I normally followed up my rants with #MorallyComplicatedYA. If you didn’t get involved, you still can. Basically, please share YA books with female protagonists who are morally complicated (so basically every character in existence), but please share books written by females. I don’t want to bring more attention to the author who basically dissed the entire YA industry, especially females in general, but it seems that it’s the only way to get people to fight back. Here are some articles for more information. Some discuss the actual events, others are reaction pieces, others explain the importance of this. Get involved. Bring attention to the right books.

First, the article that started it all:

YA Debut Gets Six-Figure Deal, Sold to 16 Territories

Now Victoria Avevard discussing why this is so upsetting:

What Are Your Thoughts on Scott Bergstrom?

Now some repercussions and harsh truths about the publishing industry:

If you enjoy a good book and you’re a woman, critics think you’re wrong.

Another sum-up to get you motivated again:

YA Author Criticizes Genre for Lack of Morally Complicated Books 

Why we should be positive instead of negative:

In Which We Are Thankful For The Legacy of Others.

And books we SHOULD be reading and sharing:

17 Books That Prove YA is Morally Complicated

Share your favorite female authors. Share your favorite morally complicated books. Share your favorite YA series. Discuss it. Inform others. Bring attention to books that deserve it.  

Here are some of my FAVORITE #MorallyComplicatedYA novels written by females.


The Conjurer’s Riddle by Andrea Cremer: The second book in The Inventor’s Secret series expands the world to the rebellion, showing that everything and everyone Charolette has fought for might not be good after all. This includes her family, her friends, and the losses in between…and she might have to fight everything she knows without understanding why.

A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz: This terrifying tale revolves around a bloody war. Racism, prostitution, and cannibalism are discussed numerous times, and not everything is morally black and white.

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski: The second book in The Winner’s Trilogy, Kestrel also finds herself making personal sacrifices surrounding her own happiness and family in order to keep a country together that might not be well-intended.

The White Rose by Amy Ewing: My current read, also the second book in The Lone City. Violet must disrupt a rebellion she knows nothing about in order to follow her gut and save friends.

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare: The second book in The Infernal Devices follows Tess as she is pulled between family, loss, new friends, and a lack of identity in a violent world.


19 thoughts on “Don’t Understand #MorallyComplicatedYA? Here’s Some Info.

  1. I must have missed all the hullabaloo today but I just read that first article and wow, just wow! Not cool. Dissing the work of other celebrated authors and basically an entire genre is probably not the way to sell a book, especially to girls lol. Thanks for bringing this to my attention!!! #MorallyComplicatedYA 😀

    1. Exactly! It’s one thing to talk about why you love your story, but you should never put the works of others’ down while doing so. Build yourself up; don’t take others down. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  2. And if you want some that are slightly less well known or possibly slightly less intense but still feature strong and occasionally morally questionable female leads, Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampire Series has a few amazing female leads that do what they have to do!

  3. Reblogged this on The 960 Writers and commented:
    This is all so infuriating, it makes me want to punch someone! Women have been here and writing since forever and then some man swoops in and thinks he’s going to “fix” the genre? What a privileged, pretentious move.

  4. Great post, thanks for all the extra information and the article links. I definitely saw this growing on social media, but wasn’t really sure where it all started. Appreciate the info! – ashley

    1. Not to mention defining ANY girl as “not like those OTHER girls.” A statement like that is insulting to all women and girls out there. We are human. We are all valuable, cheerleader or warrior, lean or “slightly overweight,” or anything else he mentioned in a negative light.
      Thank you for reading and commenting!

  5. I know Pullman is male but is Dark Materials books has a YA female protag who is very deep, a female antag who is complicated, talented, and devious, and a female back-up who is smart and caring.

    1. I think male writers are great! I love Rick Yancey for instance. The only reason I focused on female authors here was because they were the ones who got kicked under the bus. But I love your suggestion! Thank you!

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