We know why it is that men like John Green write Love Stories and women like Sarah Dessen write Romances. We know why it is that a World War II novel like Marcus Zusak’s The Book Thief sees much more recognition and receives more accolades than Ruta Sepetys’ World War II novel Between Shades of Gray. It’s not the quality. It’s the way the system is built that makes women the outsiders in the category of fiction they made.
OK can we talk about Sarah Dessen for a bit.
I realized while reading this that I always recommend her books as romances because that’s what people call them, and it’s true they have romance in them, but so do John Green’s books. Dessen writes about teenagers dealing with some heavy shit. So does John Green. Both of these authors write books that leave me sobbing on the floor because I just care about these characters so muh-uh-uch. Yet Dessen’s books are the ones that get pastel covers. Dessen’s books are the ones that get called “romances.” Dessen’s books are taken less seriously. And that’s some bullshit.