What They Neglect to Tell You: YA Authors

As both a Young Adult writer and a high school student, I know what the other, published, authors are talking about. I understand the drama of a first love and the pressures of school work. However, I believe YA authors leave some parts out of their novels.

Finals: The stress of finals is something every high schooler has to deal with, and yet, is rarely mentioned in YA books. Why is that?

Prom: God, someone could write a book just on the prom drama llamas. This is another topic I don't see written about as much.

The cliches of high school: We, as high schoolers, are not trying to be cliched. We're just trying to be the best people we can be under the circumstances. Ask a freshman in my high school what popularity is and they'll say "having lots of friends." By the time they're a senior they'll say popularity is "over-rated."

Honestly, I wish sometimes a YA author would take the time to let their own high school experiences guide them. We still struggle with the same things - for example, my high school is known for its drinking and every year we lose someone to drunk driving (normally around graduation). We still worry about getting into college. And there's still loads of drama.

Two of my favorite authors, Laurie Halse Anderson and Sarah Dessen, focus on the teenage psyche. And they do a wonderful job. But there are parts still missing.

And if someone were to tell me this wasn't good fiction I woud have to remind them, "This is our lives. We're experiencing this drama and stress and life. So don't forget to put it in because you think it doesn't make good fiction." I want to see a teenager I can relate to in a YA book. And when they not only struggle with the aftermath of their rape (Speak or Just Listen for example) but with dates to prom or finals.

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