I love a good young adult, fantasy novel. It also happens to be the genre I read most of. I was in a discussion with a lovely older lady from my online book club the other day and she asked me a very interesting question. Why do I like young adult stories so much? Of course, I asked her what she meant, because I didn't want to misunderstand her question, and she told me that she felt young adult fantasy stories were unrealistic and ridiculous. I told her that, where I agree with her that some are highly unrealistic, I doubt you can really run through a stone pillar to board a train to get to school, not all of them are unrealistic. She countered that they were, because the teenager always ends up being the hero. We talked a little longer, quickly changing subjects, before I had to get off the internet. Later, I found myself asking, what is wrong with the teenager being the hero?
As we age, we experience different things that beat away at our innocence and our sense of wonder. Children are innocent by nature, they believe in fairies and wishes and morality. I feel that teenagers are a nice blend of the two. They are old enough to understand responsibility, they have acquired knowledge and ability to strategize, they know that not every decision is an easy decision and that the line between right and wrong sometimes blurs to gray. They know some of the ways that the world actually works. But unlike an adult, they still believe that good triumphs over evil, that people are naturally good, and that anything is possible.
I understand that not all teenagers, or adults, are this way, but I feel that many are. They are not yet tainted by the harsher realities of the world. Unlike my book club friend, I believe that the teenager being the hero makes perfect sense. I know that adults can also be heroes, and even children, we hear about it everyday. I mean no disrespect, I simply understand the appeal of a teenage hero in a fictional story, after all there are teenage heroes all over the place. You just have to decide what really makes a hero a hero.
Stephanie Tiner loves all things writing. After struggling to learn how to read as a child, Stephanie eventually found her way and fell in love with the written word. The first book she read from cover to cover without help was "Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare. After falling in love with reading, she quickly fell in love with writine. Stephanie Tiner lives with her husband, children, and her dog in Missouri and hopes to someday be a published author.
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