(Im)Possibility and (in)visibility: Arguing against ‘just happens to be’ in Young Adult literature | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 1, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2055-5695
  • E-ISSN: 2055-5709



Examining a selection of Young Adult (YA) novels through lenses of visibility, recognition and otherness, and looking at the historical progression of queer YA literature as documented by Michael Cart and Christine Jenkins, this article looks to better understand the (im)possibility of ‘just happening to be’ in literature for young readers. Online conversations, academic discussions and articles have called for more YA literature in which characters ‘just happen to be gay’, but such an expectation is troubled by the existence of an already well-established idea of normal, thus requiring a coming-out moment that negates a notion of just happening to be. The author seeks to trouble the connection between these expectations of characters who just happen to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, and what is possible within the realm of fiction and written text.


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