Reader's Den is Hibernating

Reader's Den is currently in hibernation. Since I now only write book reviews for publications and other review websites, I will no longer be updating this site. However, there are 45+ reviews here and some great guest posts/interviews, so I'll keep this site alive for as long as I can just to keep the content online. Thanks for visiting! If you want to know what I'm currently up to, you can find me at my personal blog or at Editorial Assistance.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Wild and Fictional World of Teenagers

Fake may be dazzling, but fake is also false.
Not everything that glitters is gold, kids.

Let me preface this post by first saying, Hi! I'm Sierra, an aspiring author and editor, and I'm new here! That's all. Now to tackle the issue of dazzlingly fictitious lives of teenagers, more often than not as portrayed at the fingertips of--you guessed it, not REAL teenagers, but ADULTS.

Some of the most popular titles in 2011 explored an overwhelmingly teenaged female protagonist (sometimes even fast-forwarded by some means into motherhood). Twilight saga? Check. Hunger Games trilogy? Check. Hush, Hush series? Check. Etc., etc. Take a look into the crazily inhabited Young Adult fiction world and you'll find tons of young girls falling in love with men that usually sweep them off their feet... from their seats in school.

These girls are nice girls. They're boring or, if they're interesting, only a few people know it, and they're the ones who count. They're nice enough that they don't get picked on too much. And they are, without exception, the most virginally chaste group of people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying all teenagers are horny drug-abusers with criminal backgrounds and relatively peaceful home lives. But some are.

The kids I went to school with, my friends, even I MYSELF, have never really laid eyes on the likes of these girls who fall so deeply and madly in love with (usually) superhuman men of their dreams. The kids I knew in school cursed. They fought. They thought they were tough shit. They worked their butts off for their education. They didn't get hand-outs. Their relationships were rocky, but not deadly. Their jobs sometimes interfered with their education. Some wanted to join the military. Some wanted to be a dancer. Some couldn't care less about school and dragged along in advanced classes with Cs and Ds, barely passing. Some played sports, and for some that meant more than health class, though for others it was merely a past time or a good way to keep in shape, even still for others it was pushed on them by controlling parents. Some went home at midnight. Some went home directly after school. Some had chores to complete, and some wasted away in front of the computer for hours on end. Some had cars, some had to take the bus and some lived within walking distance of the school whereas others caught rides. Some had sisters, some had brothers, some had parents who went to the same school and had the same teachers. They were real.

But it's those people that I never read about, ever. It is my personal belief that, if the characters have to spend time at school, at least make it dynamic. Because, after all, isn't that what fiction is all about? Taking everyone on a ride that changes this person you've created to change for the better, or sometimes for the worse? What's the use if the backdrop is too meaningless to convey any palpable message?

My point is, Write what you know. If high school is pivotal in your book, make it pivotal, not a cardboard cut-out of Student Council Presidents and Evil Cheerleaders.

But my REAL point is, There's nothing wrong with a scarred heart falling in love, for real this time. Girls who knows nothing of love, and have never tried to, or have never given it any thought, or have never attempted to give anything of themselves to anyone else and failed... don't have to hog all the whimsical desperation that is "true love." Trust me, True Love is not alone reserved for virgins who have never been kissed. Love doesn't have to be in the shape of a triangle. Love doesn't have to blindside you. Love doesn't have to be a choice between life or death. And love doesn't have to be real, 100%, all the time. It can fracture. It can scar. It can happen to anyone. Not just these nice, boring girls.

And that's food for thought, kids.



I think this plays a part in why I'm terrified to write any high school scenes in SotD and probably won't regardless. I just...I graduated from high school just a year ago, and my boyfriend is still in high school, so I know what it's like. And it's seldom ever portrayed correctly in those YA romances. Blech.