PERIODS in YA

23 August, 2015

Lately I’ve noticed a horrifying trend in YA books – a lack of menstruating characters. Can you honestly tell me that Bella or Katniss never got their period? I find it hard to believe.

As part of my new feminism series on YouTube, I decided to make a video discussing this subject, and I’ve compiled a list to go alongside it. The books below are YA books that feature periods as plot points, or even just mention periods. Even these, surprisingly, are hard to find. The first step to getting more authors to write about menstruation is to talk about it and how important it is to talk about. We are letting teenagers down by not doing so.

I hope you enjoy the video!

THE LIST:

(Click on each title to take you to the Goodreads page)

Seed by Lisa Heathfield

Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O’Porter

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

Red Ink by Julie Mayhew

Darkmere by Helen Maslin

Sabriel by Garth Nix

Read Me Like a Book by Liz Kessler

The Other Countess by Eve Edwards

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Fire by Kristin Cashore

Weightless by Sarah Bannan

Gone by Michael Grant

Trouble by Non Pratt

Wildlife by Fiona Wood

Monsters by Emerald Fennell

Magus of Stonewylde by Kit Berry

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey

10 Comments

  • Jasmine

    23 August, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Brilliant idea Lucy! This video was fantastic and I think you have started a very important conversation. It always surprised me when I was at school that people would talk about their periods as if they were a shameful thing and I had a couple of friends who were so embarrassed that they didn’t feel it was appropriate to tell their mums when they had period pain! I feel very lucky that I’ve always been able to talk about periods like I would anything else and I’m so grateful that you’ve brought this topic to those who don’t feel able to talk about it. I look forward to more of your feminist posts!!! xxxx

    1. Lucy Powrie

      23 August, 2015 at 3:22 pm

      Thank you, Jasmine! It’s so great to hear that you look forward to more of my feminism posts and that you enjoyed this. I already feel so much better for talking about it! It’s so important that we do so.

  • Rebekah

    23 August, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    This is such a great discussion! I completely agree – YA means young adult and periods are a very important YA issue. At the moment YA is progressing in a really awesome direction by tackling stigmas surrounding topics such as mental health and sexuality. Feminism is starting to be represented too with strong, capable, heroic characters like Katniss. But periods are part of being heroic because they are part of us. We should address them not as a weakness and well not really as a strength either (although they require great strength) because they are just… natural, everyday things. Really great post ♡
    Rebekah recently posted…Review: Love, Rosie by Cecelia AhernMy Profile

  • Kyra @ Blog of a Bookaholic

    24 August, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    YES, I’ve read so many books like Divergent, The Hunger Games and most books that I think to myself, surely they would have their period and would be restricted or feel uncomfortable while doing all this stuff. I think it’s great that you’ve written this post and I admire you for doing that because I’d feel quite uncomfortable and awkward and it’s stupid that we feel this way as it’s a natural thing but it’s so hushed up and I think it’s fantastic that you’re bringing awareness to this. Looking forward to your future videos, Lucy!
    Kyra @ Blog of a Bookaholic recently posted…Bout of Books Update: Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6 (I’m bad at being organized, I know)My Profile

  • Cloe

    25 August, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    I totally agree! I’ve always wondered what would happen if you suddenly got ‘female problems’ during something like the Hunger Games. What would happen then? Hope that your sponsors would be kind enough to send you some help? Great post! 🙂

    By the way, I nominated you for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award, if you’re interested: http://morningsandepilogues.blogspot.hk/2015/08/sisterhood-of-world-bloggers-award.html

  • Georgia (The Bibliomaniac)

    25 August, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    YES LUCY. SOMEONE IS FINALLY PROPERLY DISCUSSING THIS. <3
    Georgia (The Bibliomaniac) recently posted…Book Review: One by Sarah CrossanMy Profile

  • Rebecca @ Reading Wishes

    26 August, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    Fantastic video and something that definitely should be discussed! You’re right, it is rare to see it in books, which if you think about it, is ridiculous. This is YA, after all! Love that you’re doing a feminism series on Youtube, will definitely check it out along the way! Thanks for list of books, too!
    Rebecca @ Reading Wishes recently posted…Review: Risk by Fleur FerrisMy Profile

  • Michelle

    26 August, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Oh my goodness, so much YES to this video (and I am sure, to this series as well)! Thank you for talking about it. I’m 21 and still feel uncomfortable walking into the supermarket and buying pads and tampons. Like, I bury them at the bottom of the grocery trolly and actually feel SUPER embarrassed when I have to go through a checkout with a male. Objectively I know I shouldn’t feel that way, but I just do.

    I got my period really early too, before most of my friends and (being a massive bookworm, obviously) I know I would have felt comfort in reading about it (or at least reading books with a reference to periods). In fact, I think Paper Aeroplanes was the first book I can remember having such a frank discussion of periods (rather than just in passing) and I read that when I was 18. By then, it was already deeply ingrained in me that periods were something to be embarrassed by and to hide. I’ll keep working on that one, but I cannot agree more that periods need to be part of YA – just like discussions around teenagers having sex. Fab job Lucy! xx
    Michelle recently posted…Lair of Dreams by Libba BrayMy Profile

  • Danielle

    7 September, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    I am so in love with this post! Such an important topic that deserves more notice and respect. Periods are such a pivotal part of so many women’s lives and it’s vital for all people, men and women to realise that they are not something to fear or think are gross. I adore coming across mentions in books especially YA because I remember those early days so well and how important a “friend” Are you there God, it’s me Margaret became for me as it provided so much comfort at a time that was seriously strange and overwhelming.
    Danielle recently posted…Freedom’s Child by Jax Miller | ReviewMy Profile

  • Jackie

    26 October, 2015 at 7:58 am

    I agree with you 100%. Preach it sister! My goal is to spread the word about how awesome menstrual cups are to the world, teenagers and adults as well.
    Jackie recently posted…What’s the Best Menstrual Cup?My Profile

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