Thursday, November 6, 2014

Teen Books and Maturity

I debated for quite awhile about whether to post this because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.  Finally I had my teenage daughter read it and she doesn't think it should upset the teens in the audience so with her blessing, here goes...

I have a conundrum.  It all started with Twilight being the first teen book I had read since... well, since I was a teen.  Twilight described in detail how Bella was very mature for her age.  In it she claims that her mom said she “was born middle age.”  And the reason is explained... Because her mom needed someone else to be the grown up in the relationship.  So when Bella acts 35 you don't really question it.  Of course she has some moments of typical teenage behavior but that's not the norm. 

So then I pick up other books and it seems that SO many authors have adopted the model of how Bella acts without the reason or explanation given in Twilight.  But there are some who have really nailed teen thoughts and behavior (I can still remember back to those times and how I thought).  So the conundrum is this... What do I, or should I, like more?  The teen that acts like a teen in a book can honestly be annoying to read about.  She makes irrational decisions (let’s sneak out at night with the hot guy I just met TODAY… nothing could go wrong).  She has feelings that seem ridiculous (he said something hurtful but let’s not talk it through, instead I’ll just go home and stew about it while avoiding his attempts to apologize).  BUT she's just acting like a teen and not thinking things through with 35years of experience! 

As a woman who is closer to 35 than the 17 it can be more comfortable to read the "fake teen" because how she thinks makes sense to me.  Honestly, if you've followed my blog for a while you've probably picked up that the main reason I read YA books is not for the high school drama but for the lack of "mature subject matter" (which is author euphemism for sex).  So I like mature characters without the sex, but is it realistic to want my characters to be mature teens?  This is one I’m still debating so you tell me. 

Comments would be very helpful!

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