“You look like you’ve been living in a stables,” Adeline said, wrinkling her nose at Acacia’s never brushed hair and dress that would have been lovely had it not been shredded from climbing the ship’s rigging.
“And you look as though you’ve been vomiting for a week,” Acacia said, grinning broadly. “What ladies we’re growing up to be.”
When I was brainstorming ideas for my honours thesis, my initial plan was to create a discussion around the representation of young girls in middle-grade literature. Although I ended up going another way with my thesis, the idea stuck with me. Specifically, two sisters kept whispering story ideas in my ear.
When I was a young reader, there was not a lot of writing that showed girls as the lead characters in their own lives and stories. Hermione (although more interesting, in my opinion) was a side character to Harry’s story. Wendy lived in Peter’s shadow (the metaphorical one, not to be confused with his actual shadow, who is a sassy bitch). Even Lucy Pevensie’s adventure is commandeered by Edmund, who just HAD to have that Turkish delight.
Although there have been enormous steps made in middle-grade lit since I was a tween, I want more. I want girls to see themselves front and centre in as many stories as boys do.
And so these two girls, Acacia and Adeline, who have been whispering in my ear for almost two years now, are starting to take shape. I am so excited to be actively working on the first draft of the MG story that I needed growing up.