S178. Bad Girls Do It Well: Creating Flawed and Fully Formed "Bad" Girl Characters in YA Fiction

Meeting Room 9 & 10, Marriott Waterside, Third Floor
Saturday, March 10, 2018
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm


“If people cannot be flawed in fiction there's no place left for us to be human.” As author Roxane Gay states, fiction is the perfect space to explore female characters in young adult novels that are sometimes considered unlikeable, but how to write a flawed protagonist without alienating readers? In this panel, a diverse group of YA authors explore realistic “bad girl” characters in YA fiction while offering tips on how to create fully formed protagonists that hold true to the story.


Lilliam Rivera is an award-winning writer and author of The Education of Margot Sanchez, a contemporary young adult nove. Recently named a "2017 Face to Watch" by The Los Angeles Times, Lilliam's work has appeared in Tin House, Los Angeles Times, and Latina.

Nova Ren Suma is the author of four novels, including The New York Times bestselling YA novel The Walls Around Us. She has an MFA from Columbia University and is a MacDowell and Yaddo fellow. She teaches in the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Erika Sanchez is a poet, novelist, and essayist. She is the author of Lessons on Expulsion and I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. She is a 2017–2019 Princeton Arts Fellow.

Brandy Colbert is the author of the young adult novels Pointe and Little & Lion, as well as essays and short fiction that has been published in various anthologies. She lives and writes in Los Angeles.

Amy Reed is the author of eight contemporary YA novels, including Beautiful, Clean, and her most recent, The Nowhere Girls, about three misfit girls who start a movement to avenge the rape of a classmate and fight the misogynist culture at their school.


March 7–10, 2018
Tampa, FL

Tampa Convention Center & Marriott Tampa Waterside