Beyond the First Kiss
By Anne Tibbets
I may burn a few bridges with this blog post, and quite a bit of you readers could call me insane for saying so, but I think a great portion of Young Adult Lit is stupid. It’s true, when you are a teen, and having been one myself I can attest to this, there is no small problem. Everything feels BIG. Everything!
The fact that Eric the Volleyball Captain just said ‘Hi’ to you in the halls can make or break an entire day. And that some skank from Homeroom just told your best friend’s brother that you had a sexually transmitted disease, could in fact, ruin your entire High School existence.
But in the grand scheme of life, it won’t kill you. I mean, literally, despite the wonderful Jane Austen’s epically romantic novels, you cannot die from a broken heart. You can die from starving yourself to death, swallowing a bottle of pills, or jumping head first off a balcony, but you cannot, in fact, die from the emotional aching that occurs in your chest when you find out Eric the Volleyball Captain called you a Butterface.
“You know,” he said, “she’s got a hot body - but her face…”
I think to write entire Young Adult novels about the emotional devastation and heartache and terrors of actual High School, is in fact, stupid, and redundant. High School is hard enough without reading a book to remind us of this fact. Perhaps the reader can take some solace in that someone else is suffering just as much as they are, but it is my express opinion today’s teens don’t need a reminder of why or how High School sucks. We know that already.
Hence, the title of my blog, ‘Beyond the First Kiss.’ If you haven’t noticed, Fantasy and Paranormal are kicking Young Adult Lit butt. I think this is because today’s young readers, in my humble opinion, are looking for a form of escapism.
If, indeed, there is drama to be had, we want it to be true life and/or death drama, and not just if you got your first kiss. What if you got your first kiss on the night your brother was murdered right in front of you by a band of evil castle guards and now you don’t know whether to laugh or cry…Better, eh? Eh??
What if you got your first kiss from your new boyfriend but he’s a vampire and kissing you could ultimately lead to him eating you. So! Much! Better!
I hope this trend in YA Lit continues, because I can honestly say, in my mind, epic battles, magic spells, and monsters mixed in with first kisses, love triangles, and growing up, makes for a WAY better read.
If everything feels big, let’s make it really, honking BIG.
But that’s just me.
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Anne Tibbets is an SCBWI award-winning author. Anne found her way to young adult fantasy by following what she loves: strong female characters, magic, sword fights and ferocious and cuddly animals. Anne is co-author of the middle grade time travel adventure, "The Amulet Chronicles," and author of the young adult fantasy, "The Beast Call." She divides her time between writing, her family, and two furry creatures that she secretly believes are plotting her assassination. For more information about Anne, visit her website at http://www.writeforcoffee.blogspot.com or find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AnneTibbetsAuthor