four female youtubers worth watching.

On the surface, YouTube in 2017 is a bit of a trash heap. You have a page of ‘recommendations’ that are essentially just Vine compilations and videos of people chopping iPhones up with knives, and you have a page of ‘Trending’ videos that are…still the Vines and knife videos. For a while I’d been avoiding trawling through YouTube; people seem to be getting 5 million+ followers for posting clickbait and videos of ‘triggered feminists’. Ew.

As of late, however, I’ve been looking past the spam and hunting for YouTube gems that deserve more attention. Today I wanted to write about three YouTube channels that I genuinely enjoy. I recommend you go check them out; their content is original and funny, and they are all wonderfully creative people! They’re proof that you can create good content in 2017 without falling into the usual YouTube sinkholes of clickbait and ‘triggered’ jokes. There’s hope for the internet yet.

1. Lucy Moon.



Lucy Moon is a YouTuber from London; she is also one-third of a book group podcast called Banging Book Club, which you can listen to here. I love watching Lucy’s videos; I enjoy how fresh and original they are, and how well-made they are. Her ‘168 Hours’ vlogs are week-long vlogs that are creative and beautifully edited. Her videos range from covers of songs to baking videos; she shares her thoughts on music, her favourite poetry books, being organised and anxiety. I highly recommend you check out her channel, which you can watch here.

2. Mari and Stacy (Geek Remix).


Mari and Stacy run a YouTube gaming channel called Geek Remix, which I’ve been watching for about a year now. At the moment they’re one of the only gaming channels I enjoy watching, and here’s why. While your average YouTube gamer will scream through horror games for the audience’s benefit and be as obnoxious as they like (because they know they’ll get away with it), Mari and Stacy’s videos are different, because they’re genuine. Their playthroughs of video games are fascinating; they don’t talk over the dialogue or detract from the experience, but they add to it instead. They theorise about the plot while playing, talking about feminism, mental health, and whether they’d date a robot (answer: yes, if the robot has a good personality). I highly recommend their channel; watching one of their videos is like playing a video game with friends, and their discussions always make the game playthrough that much better. (Find their channel here.)

3. Carrie Hope Fletcher (ItsWayPastMyBedtime).


Carrie Hope Fletcher is a YouTuber from the UK; I’ve been watching her videos for years and they have always been amazingly creative, entertaining and adorable. Other than being a YouTuber, Carrie is an author, singer/songwriter and actress. She’s well-known for her former role as Eponine in West End’s production of Les Miserables. She has released two singles, and is about to release her third book. I definitely see her as one of the most talented YouTubers out there. She’s such a sweet and talented person, and you should definitely have a look at her content.

You can find her channel here, and her website here. 

I’d really like to write more about my favourite YouTubers, so there might be a sequel to this post sometime soon! In the meantime, check out one or more of these people; they deserve all the attention they get.


10 YA Tropes We’re Tired of Reading

We’ve all read a YA novel and picked up on something that sounds a little too familiar. We’ve all met the protagonist who’s living in a dystopian world run by a corrupt government – you know, the one who has a lot on her plate right now, what with having to save the world and having some kind of supernatural power that’s endangering her? She’s also the one being pursued by not one, but two guys, and she just can’t choose between them. And she probably has red hair.

Books in the young adult genre can be amazingly well-written and original, but a good number of them seem to rely on the same tropes every time. Today I wanted to write about a few of them. I didn’t want this post to just be a list of cliches that annoy me personally, so I asked my fellow members of the Literary Box Book Club – a great community of book lovers – what tropes they were tired of reading in young adult novels. Here are ten of the tropes that we need to see less of in books!

1. Love triangles.

This one is no surprise. The trope of love triangles appears in some of the most popular young adult novels out there – hi The Hunger Games – and it’s rarely relevant to the plot in any way. The main character, generally a female of the not-like-the-other-girls variety, is in love with two guys. She can’t choose between them. This is either tacked onto the book as a forced romance storyline, or is the basis of the entire novel. You can usually tell exactly which guy she’s going to end up with purely by their introduction.

In The Hunger Games, the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale is certainly not the most important element of the books, but it’s focused on far too much. Predictably, when the movies came out the media blew the love triangle even more out of proportion. Forget Katniss taking down the government or dealing with PTSD or literally being in an televised-murder-kid-explosion-arena – what the teen magazines wanted to know was are you Team Peeta or Team Gale?

2. Being the ‘chosen one’.

There’s only so much of prophecies, magical powers and being descended from some kind of mythical being that a reader can take. Stating that your protagonist is ‘the chosen one’ at times feels like a cheap way of explaining why your main character is…well, the main character. She is the chosen one. Legend says that a white straight girl with red hair and eyes that change colour when she’s upset is destined to save the world. Deal with it. The prophecy foretold you so.

3. “I let out a breath I didn’t know I had been holding.”

We don’t know where this originated or why people keep writing this, but it’s a thing. A weird thing that adds nothing to the writing and…doesn’t even really make sense. When the reader’s attention is being directed to how the character is breathing, that’s when you know the story is getting intense, right?

4. Diversity where?

This one is a little more serious. The majority of YA novels have white, able-bodied, female protagonists with white, able-bodied, male love interests. There’s a lack of diverse characters in young adult novels that is unrealistic and disappointing. There’s no representation for the young people that these novels should be written for.

In an attempt to claim the cast of characters is in some way diverse, the author might insert one token black character into the mix. When this is done poorly it can be pretty obvious. If the black teenage girl (who is, quite suspiciously, the one person of colour in her entire high school) seems to have zero qualities or personality traits other than being ‘sassy’, then you might need to think about rewriting. Remember that including minorities for the sake of including minorities is a bad move, and nobody’s personality entirely revolves around their race, sexuality, gender or disability. They deserve to be written with equal depth as the other characters.

5. The token Best Friend character.

The Best Friend character generally falls into one of three categories:

A type: Incredibly attractive. More popular than the protagonist. Has a good understanding of makeup and fashion, so she likely helps the protagonist dress up for a date or the prom in later chapters. Is likely to turn out to be unkind and betray the protagonist in some way. In the world of YA novels that revolve around love triangles, female friendships aren’t worth too much.

B type: Their name is Mia and their personality is as bland as porridge. You’ll never hear of them after the first two chapters except for a possible cameo at the end. Bye Mia.

C type: The best friend is a guy. Oh boy. He and the protagonist have been friends since preschool when they tried to drown one other in a duck pond. He is very obviously in love with the protagonist and this will not become clear to her until the end of the book. Has brown floppy hair much like a wildebeest. Possibly a guitarist, almost certainly a social outcast that only the protagonist understands.

6. Instantly falling in love.

The protagonist and the love interest see eachother across the room – sufficient grounds to say that they’re in love. Or maybe their eyes meet at the school cafeteria. Hell, maybe their hands brush accidentally. In your typical low quality YA novel, it’s surprisingly easy to fall in love. If not easy, then fast.

7. Alarming levels of heterosexuality.

Oh god. The YA genre can be painfully straight at times. I can count the good LGBT-inclusive YA novels I’ve read on one hand. And really I can’t say it’s LGBT-inclusive so much as…LG-inclusive? Bisexual and/or transgender characters are a rarity.

Perhaps even worse than an 100% straight cast of characters is, once again, when the author adds a gay best friend for diversity’s sake. This is the only time you’re likely to see a female protagonist with a male friend who remains just a friend. The gay best friend trope is one of my least favourite – these characters are almost always painfully stereotypical. “Oh my Gaga” is a phrase I’ve had to read with my own two eyes. I’m not even kidding. I can’t imagine that every gay teenage boy’s primary purpose is to drift about his high school until he finds a straight white girl who needs a makeover – and yet this character trope persists.

8. Manic Pixie Dream Girls.

They whisk away the incredibly dull male protagonist, get them to shoplift an inflatable dolphin for the sake of quirkiness, teach them how to love and live, then die in a freak accident. All in about the space of a weekend. There’s no rest for the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. They’re equal parts lovable and irritating in a vague blue-haired way, and they appear in YA fiction way too much. If you’re trying to write a realistic novel, don’t make your male protagonist’s love interest someone like this. Life is not a John Green novel, ladies and gentlemen. And shoplifting is more illegal than quirky.

9. Parents where?

Chances are the answer to that is something along the lines of:

A) They died in a car crash when Protagonist was three.

B) Business trip.

C) You are briefly introduced to them in the first chapter but after that they are sucked into the void never to be seen again.

D) The antagonist or the government killed the parents.

10. Red hair. So much red hair.

Red hair occurs in 1-2% of people, yet somehow either Protagonist or Best Friend are always redheads. If we lived in a world where young adult protagonists ran wild, red hair wouldn’t be quite so uncommon after all. Then again, if red hair was common, the protagonists would probably not have red hair. And then again! If we lived in a world where young adult protagonists ran wild, at least 1-2% of the population would be Chosen Ones. That’s a lot of choosing.

Thanks to all of my fellow book club members who helped contribute their thoughts and ideas! It’s good to see that so many readers aren’t settling for predictable writing or stereotyped characters.

Let me know in the comments what your least favourite YA trope is!

(Image source:

Not Like the Other Girls: How to Fail at Writing a Feminist Character

I’ve been reading a number of popular works on Wattpad recently. Something I’ve noticed about the novels in the increasingly popular Teen Fiction genre is that the protagonists (who are almost always female) are written as being absolutely perfect. Some authors have tried to avoid writing their characters as ‘Mary Sues’, and some have gone for ‘feminist’ protagonists who break the stereotypes you generally see in these online novels. Thing is, the authors don’t really seem to understand what feminism is. In addition, there are some dodgy ways that Wattpad authors try and fail to write feminist stories, and I’d like to talk about a few of them over time.

Not like the other girls.

This is when the author decides that it’s time to try defying stereotypes, and writes their main character  – Mia  – as a tomboy of sorts. She doesn’t wear makeup, she hates One Direction, and she loves being ‘one of the boys’. Maybe she’s into sports, maybe she doesn’t care about her looks. Hell, maybe she even orders a burger instead of a salad when she goes out.

Thing is, it doesn’t matter what Mia enjoys doing, because the focus of her personality and interests is on what she doesn’t do. This is often voiced in the story itself – because people like Mia firmly believe that they are not like the other girls.

This isn’t just about Wattpad characters, either – you see this in pop culture all the time! The main character is very proud to that they aren’t a ‘plastic’ girl who is interested in makeup and clothes and boys. They care about things that really matter!

Mia is everything that the other girls are not, and that’s what makes her good, the story tells you. Being yourself is a decent message in itself, but that isn’t what it’s about in this case. Mia isn’t a feminist character for not caring what boys think and not wearing makeup. She looks around at the other girls at her generic American high school and believes that she’s better than all of them by default. She doesn’t own a pair of high heels so she isn’t an ‘airhead’ like everyone else. So long as she’s putting people down to create a pedestal for herself, Mia is hardly a female character to root for.

If you’re going to write a character and you don’t want her to be a stereotypical Wattpad heroine, that’s good. If you want her to enjoy things that aren’t as feminine as the interests of her classmates, that’s good too! Your character can have platonic relationships with male characters and choose not to wear makeup. She can hate Starbucks and never wear dresses. She can even eat the god damn burger.

Just know that the second your character looks down on the girls around her for being ‘fake’ or wearing lipstick, you’ve failed to write a feminist character. You’re saying that the more feminine a girl appears, the less deserving of respect she is. That isn’t a message anyone should be spreading.