In the last several years, there’s been an undeniable surge of books being published specifically for a Young Adult audience. “Hunger Games,” “Cinder,” “The Fault in Our Stars,” “Dorothy Must Die,” “City of Bones,” “The Maze Runner,” “Delirium,” “The Uglies,” . . .YA is all the rage! And lots and lots of writers are trying to ride the YA train, flooding the market with hundreds of thousands of stories featuring teen protagonists. So, why do I cast my writing out into such a huge sea? Why do I write about, and specifically for, teenagers when there are so many books out there to contend with?
For starters, I like teens. The raw stage of emerging adulthood is engaging and inspiring to be around. Teens think broadly. Their minds are wide open to ideas and experiences many adults are either afraid of, or have blocked themselves off from. Adolescents are game for anything, creating a sizzling energy full of possibilities to write about.
Another thing I like about writing about and for teens is how they don’t spend much time slogging through the baggage they carry from childhood like adults do. Their past has nothing to do with their present. Teens often live in, “The Spectacular Now,” if I may use a YA book title to highlight my point. Adolescents care about what’s going on today, and who are they are with in any particular moment. And, as we old people know, life goes by lightning fast making what’s happening “right now” is important to pay attention to!
And I love how deeply teenagers feel things. Every emotion is experienced two-fold compared to adults, who often try to push feelings away, or rationalize, or psychoanalyze everything. It’s exhausting trying to process emotions as an adult…why do I feel this way? How can change the way I feel? How must I act when I feel this way? How do others perceive me when I feel this way? Blech! Exhausting. Teens just accept their emotions for what they are. They don’t THINK about their feelings; they just FEEL them! Which is refreshing to write about.
Of course, part of my interest in writing YA is to re-experience some of the great parts of being young. Crushes and first kisses. Making deep connections really fast. Having a strong, healthy body with no wrinkles or stretch marks. Waking up each day with the future in front of you, and the future can still be anything. You can still be anything. I enjoy being an adult and all the good things maturity has brought me, but I’m glad I have YA novels to dip into when I want to reclaim my youth for a while.
The final reason I choose to write for a YA audience is I like providing “food for thought” about growing up. I relish posing questions for readers to ponder about all that coming-of-age entails. Friendships and relationships, drugs, sex, religion, racism, gender roles, poverty, equality, politics, etc. And I don’t like giving answers, but rather presenting the issues and letting readers think for themselves. Yes, I could do this for an adult audience, too, but there’s something wonderful about discussing issues through characters who are encountering them for the first time. Before maturity solidifies opinions and closes the doors to new ideas. Again, not that mental maturity is wrong or bad, but in my writing there seems to be more freedom in a young character’s mind. I feel like I have more mental room to roam.
So, even though my novel “Tenderfoot” is just one fish in a vast ocean of other YA books, I’m driven to write more YA novels. I’ll write more for a Young Adult audience because I enjoy it, but also because it’s a fresh, emotionally honest, and compelling way to explore the world. And even if my readership is small, I’m happy to have any readers at all. Readers who want to look through YA-colored glasses, even if it’s only for a little while. I’m just looking to claim my piece of the YA ocean. Happy, thoughtful, emotional reading everyone!
Tenderfoot (Enova #1)
by Abby Drinen
Publication Date: June 25th 2016
Genre: YA Sci-fi
“No lights, no sound. But my skin knows this isn’t home. Why aren’t I afraid?”
Orphaned teenagers, Linnea, Sammy, Logan, and Daisy, have never met until they’re drawn into the fabric between worlds, crossing over from Earth to a place called Enova. Leaving behind lives filled with pain and loss they find hope in this new place. Adopted by caring, Enovan families they begin to settle in, but an assassination attempt on their lives changes everything. These four strangers must now band together and unravel the mysteries behind their purpose in Enova if they want to survive.
Buy Link: Amazon
About the Author
I call Northern California home and share my hearth with my husband, three kids, and a red Rottweiler named Paco. I like to write about real characters in unreal worlds. The question I ask myself when I sit down at the keyboard is: how can I make this next scene a whole lot of fun to read?
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (I LOVE to hear from readers!)
Pinterest: pinterest.com/abbydrinen (lots of pictures of Enova, plus characters, and other extras!)
Wattpad: wattpad.com/user/enovalady (rough drafts of my novellas)
Movellas: movellas.com/user/enova/movellas (rough drafts of my other stories & novellas)