I am a Young-Adult (YA) fan. If it’s YA, I’ll probably have a snack on it. But as I grow old (yes, it happens to me too), I have begun to take notice of a fascinating trend among the more epic YA novels.
The protagonist (main character) is usually 16 years old.
Well, that’s all well and fine, but why is it so popular? When I was 16, I was more interested in reading, squawking my violin, and hanging out with my friends.
(Spoiler coming:) I did NOT save the world once.
I also didn’t fall in love with a vampire, or discover I was a werewolf, or leave home to take up a life of extreme sport, or save my sister’s life, or wage guerrilla warfare, or die, or come back to life, or find my lifelong heart-throb and then proceed to die to save him or to live to see him die.
I guess I had a pretty pathetic 16th year.
DIVERGENT (by Veronica Roth)
Tris (16) decides not to be like her parents and changes factions to become Dauntless — which includes a lot of fighting, jumping off moving trains, and living on adrenaline. The factions are chaffing and ready to war. With a hot boyfriend (told you), she uses guns, serums, and a faction-defying secret, to save the world. Or die. There is a trilogy (yet unfinished) so we’re still waiting for the ultimate outcome.
PS I love this book.
STARTERS (by Lissa Price)
Callie (16) rents her body out to old fogies, so they can “live” as her for a day and be young again. She “sleeps” during this time. Until, the process glitches and she finds her renter has dastardly murder-plots to do with Callie’s own hands. Not good. With the help of a semi-hot-boyfriend (ha), she unravels the real plot behind the use of “renting”.
Katniss (16) volunteers her own life, to fight to the death in an Arena for the pleasure of the sicko government. She meets a frustrating boy (who has had a crush on her his whole life) who then proceeds to announce his undying love for her on national TV. She pushes him into a vase (natural reaction). They fight in the Arena, blood everywhere, lots of weeping and gnashing of teeth.
PS I really, really, really love this book.
TOMORROW, WHEN THE WAR BEGAN (by John Marsden)
Ellie (16) goes bush with her friends, only to return home and find foreign forces have taken over her home town. Talk about annoying. With her friends (and a hot boyfriend) she wages guerrilla war on them. Everyone gets shot. The dog dies.
LAMENT (by Maggie Stiefvater)
Deirdre (16!) is a shy musical genius, who also has an incredibly hot fairy assassin on her tail. Suddenly a target, Deirdre has to avoid death by fairies and protect those she loves. Which is harder then you’d think with her best friend declaring he loves her, not to mention the hunky fairy, Luke, madly besotted with her — and of course she’ll probably be killed because she has the potential to control all fey. It’s tough to be popular.
So what is it about the magical age of “16” that floods the fantastic YA market? Is it because 15 is too young? Is 17 too old (we get it that 18 is nigh on ancient)? And let’s not talk about 19! You practically have grey hair apparently.
What do you think? (The burning question is: were you/are you a evil-fighting-heroic-world-saving 16 year old?!)
Name me some other books with world-saving 16-year-olds!!