1st Edition

Understanding (Post)feminist Girlhood Through Young Adult Fantasy Literature

By Elizabeth Little Copyright 2024
    200 Pages
    by Routledge

    Understanding (Post)feminist Girlhood Through Young Adult Fantasy Literature takes advantage of growing critical interest in popular young adult texts and their influence on young people. The monograph offers an innovative approach by pairing traditional literary analysis with the responses of readers to show the complex ways that young people respond to the depiction of female protagonists. In the first section the book utilises a feminist framework to examine young adult fantasy novels published from 2012-2018, with a particular focus on A Court of Thorns and Roses (Maas 2015) and Red Queen (Aveyard 2015). The analysis shows how strong female protagonists in young adult fantasy are postfeminist heroines who reinscribe patriarchal power structures, embrace limited understandings of gender roles, and persist in relationships that oppress them. In the second section the monograph introduces empirical data from a series of focus groups discussing those same novels. The discussion shows that readers respond to these popular young adult fantasy texts with complexity and nuance that highlights their postfeminist subjectivities as they simultaneously reject and reinscribe elements of postfeminism in their understanding of the girl protagonists.

    Chapter 1: Introduction


    SECTION I: Reading young adult fantasy girls


    Chapter 2: “I swear this happens in all of these books”: femininity, agency and sexuality in popular young adult fantasy novels


    Chapter 3: Postfeminism in the A Court of Thorns and Roses and Red Queen series


    SECTION II: Girls reading of young adult fantasy


    Chapter 4: The girls and their contexts


    Chapter 5: “Girls can actually do something, you know”: femininity and gender in ACOTAR and Red Queen


    Chapter 6 - “Her lack of choices is the whole point of the plot”: agency and power in ACOTAR and Red Queen


    Chapter 7: “That’s the good stuff” – romance and sexuality in ACOTAR and Red Queen


    Chapter 8: Conclusions


    Elizabeth Little is a Lecturer in the Faculty of Arts and Education at Deakin University, Geelong, Australia.