By Claire Crossman,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
A showcase of new and diverse young adult books.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this podcast.
By its nature, this podcast is literature-focused and very educational. New books belonging to various genres are described and analyzed in each episode. Character traits, like how to be empathetic, understanding, and courageous, are advocated for when discussing plot points.
Acceptance and understanding of cultures and demographics different from your own is emphasized and encouraged. Reading as a way to learn more about others and spark your own interests is the basis of the show.
Positive Role Models
Both hosts are kind, well-read, and empathetic role models for teens to listen to. They speak about their own personal lives and how they connect to various books. The hosts are inclusive, get along well, and rarely involve adult content unless it's related to the book at hand.
Several episodes are dedicated to demographic-specific YA literature, such as queer friendships and Indigenous graphic novels. Episodes highlight the strengths of these stories, while also celebrating representation in young adult literature.
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Violence & Scariness
Occasional mentions of bigotry and discrimination in book plots
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Romance is a very common theme, with a focus on healthy relationships and their depiction in literature. Conversations about sex (and healthy sex) are infrequently, but casually, had. For example, a quick mention of Bella having sex and giving birth to Edward's child in the Twilight series is mentioned.
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Products & Purchases
Episodes are sponsored by various educational programs and nonprofits, such as conferences and writing panels. They are geared toward young adults and their parents. Other ads can be about comedy shows which may include adult content.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Hey YA is a podcast dedicated to highlighting diverse and engaging books geared toward young adults. The show focuses on depictions of various demographics in literature, what they look like, and how we can create more of them. The two adult hosts (Tirzah and Erica) have fun conversations about themselves and these books, without verging into adult content that would give parents pause. Although there are brief mentions of sex, further adult content is virtually nonexistent. This show focuses specifically on books that are written for young adults and that young adults would find interesting. For parents who are looking to encourage their teens to read more diverse literature (or simply to widen their world view to consider the perspectives of people different from themselves), Hey YA is a fantastic choice.
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What’s It About?
This podcast explores literature that is written specifically for teens. Focusing on a different category in each episode, HEY YA compiles a collection of books for the listener, letting them know the best books for teens in any given genre. Episodes have an emphasis on diversity and inclusion for various demographics. Examples of these topics include queer relationships, indigenous fiction, and a focus on Latine authors. The two hosts are "real life" friends and always have a fun, casual, and meaningful discussion around literature and media in general. Each host picks a few books to focus on in each episode, describing the author, the plot, and how it connects to the episode's theme. Plot explanations are quick, don't drag in pace, and are analyzed right after. Episodes are roughly 45 minutes in length. Hey YA is produced by Book Riot, the largest literary independent site in North America.
Is It Any Good?
With a focus on making diversity and literature well-known, this podcast will draw teen listeners in without a problem. Hey YA absolutely accomplishes its goal of analyzing young adult literature with an inclusive lens. The two hosts chat about personal experiences surrounding the episode's topic before getting into specific titles, making each episode feel more like you're listening in on a couple of very funny friends laughing it up instead of a lecture on literature. The hosts are adult women, but their humor and dialogue doesn't verge into adult-only territory, making this one an easy "yes" for parents of teens. Overall, Hey YA is an educational podcast without the dry information-dump that teens dread. Plus, it comes with the advocacy and inclusivity that will excite parents who are looking to widen their teen's view of the world.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how Hey YA looks at several different under-represented groups in literature. Do you feel that who you are as a person is commonly displayed in the books you read?
This podcast promotes inclusivity and diversity. Do you have a favorite book that you consider to be inclusive? What makes it inclusive to you?
- Release date: September 1, 2017
- Genre: Storytelling
- Average Run Time: 45 minutes
- Website: https://bookriot.com/listen/shows/heyya/
- Hosts: Tirzah Price, Erica Ezeifedi
- Publisher: Book Riot
- Pricing structure: Free
- Topics: Activism, Book Characters, Friendship
- Character Strengths: Communication, Compassion, Curiosity, Empathy
- Last updated: March 27, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Listen
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