1st Edition

The Reparative Impulse of Queer Young Adult Literature

By Angel Daniel Matos Copyright 2024
    232 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Reparative Impulse of Queer Young Adult Literature is a provocative meditation on emotion, mood, history, and futurism in the critique of queer texts created for younger audiences. Given critical demands to distance queer youth culture from the logics of violence, sadness, and hurt that have haunted the queer imagination, this volume considers how post-2000s YA literature and media negotiate their hopeful purview with a broader—and ongoing—history of queer oppression and violence. It not only considers the tactics that authors use in bridging a supposedly “bad” queer past with a “better” queer present, but also offers strategies on how readers can approach YA reparatively given the field’s attachments to normative, capitalist, and neoliberal frameworks. Central to Matos’ argument are the use of historical hurt to spark healing and transformation, the implementation of disruptive imagery and narrative structures to challenge normative understandings of time and feeling, and the impact of intersectional thinking in reparative readings of queer youth texts. The Reparative Impulse of Queer YA Literature shows how YA cultural productions are akin to the broader queer imagination in their ability to move and affect audiences, and how these texts encapsulate a significant and enduring change in terms of how queerness is—or can be—read, structured, represented, and felt. 

    Chapter I

    The Politics of Critique and Repair


    Chapter II

    More Sad Than Not? The Joywashing of Queer YA


    Chapter III

    The Haunting Presence of AIDS  


    Chapter IV

    On Mortality and Permalife 


    Chapter V

    Catastrophic Comforts 


    Chapter VI

    The Limits of Repair


    Angel Daniel Matos is an Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at Bowdoin College (Maine, USA), where he teaches courses on queer youth literature, queer Latinidades, teen cinema, and video game culture. His work has appeared in Children’s Literature, Research on Diversity in Youth Literature, The ALAN Review, Queer Studies in Media and Popular Culture, among other journals and edited volumes.  He co-edited Media Crossroads: Intersections of Space and Identity in Screen Cultures (2021) with Pamela Robertson Wojcik and Paula J. Massood.

    "The Reparative Impulse of Queer Young Adult Literature is a treatise on queer futures, pasts, and presents, an homage to queer texts that represent the hurts alongside the optimism. In this stylish and astute study, Matos asks us to consider what it means to consume queer YA literature and culture within frameworks of pain, suffering, and the reparative possibilities open to us when we acknowledge past wounds and tragedies. Above all, this book asks us to make room for all the messy underpinnings of queer YA literature: the pain, hurts, and even happiness. Urging readers to embrace these contradictions, Angel Daniel Matos offers a refreshing approach to the study of queer YA cultures and literature."

    --Dr. Cristina Herrera, author, Welcome to Oxnard: Race, Place, and Chicana Adolescence in Michele Serros's Writings (2024) and ChicaNerds in Chicana Young Adult Literature: Brown and Nerdy (2020)


    "The Reparative Impulse of Queer Young Adult Literature artfully challenges the melancholic and often normative roots of queer YA literature by engaging with reparative frameworks that seek out hope as an act of resistance. Matos’s deft inclusion of film and video games alongside more traditional texts is a breath of fresh air and positions The Reparative Impulse to be required reading for any who wish to keep up with the field."

    --Dr. Cristina Rhodes, Associate Professor of English, Shippensburg University


    "Matos approaches this reparative reading of queer YA through a complex look at how these texts refer to, move away from, or both at once, a queer past that that has often included harm. Reading queer YA is personal and often messy for Matos and all queer readers, and he shows this through a nuanced analysis of YA texts in multiple forms. This analysis is especially poignant when Matos discusses how he responded as a queer Latine to texts with queer Latine main characters."

    --Dr. Summer Melody Pennell, author, Queering Critical Literacy and Numeracy for Social Justice: Navigating the Course (2019)