So I turned 19 last month.
It feels exactly the same way 18 does, but if a bearded stranger in a hood doesn’t ask me to join him on a mysterious quest at some point this year, imma sue some authors.
This is my last chance to be a YA heroine. I’m NOT missing it.
The only problem is, I’m not entirely sure I’d be the best candidate for a character in the Young Adult genre. (Nor any genre, really, though that’s beside the point.) I don’t have magic hair or magic hands or animals that speak to me. (Unless you count the battery-operated parrot in Cracker Barrel.)
Thus, I wrote down a list of qualifications to test my eligibility. Starting off with a grand ol’–
You must be female.
Yeahhhhhhh, pretty sure this one applies.
(Far be it from me to mention strong YA stories that have male protagonists, like The Giver or such. Those books definitely don’t exist.)
You are not like other girls.
I… own a chicken…? I once brought a bag of onions to a Christmas gift exchange because I ran out of time and couldn’t find anything else? I can crack all my knuckles and my thumbs individually?
Does that count?
You are strong and spirited! You fear nothing, not even death itself!!
*remembers the time she let a book get sent back before she could check it out because she couldn’t bring herself to go into the library and face the human behind the front desk*
Your parents don’t love you.
Or at the very least, are dead.
Sheesh, mom and dad, why couldn’t you have abandoned me on those gothic temple steps when you had the chance?
You are INDEPENDENT.
Oh yes, totally! I buy my own notebooks now instead of pirating them from my dad!
You don’t need no man!!!
Not even my dad?
…though if you end up with one by the end of the story, everyone will overlook it.
*desperately searches for a man who isn’t my dad*
But also, the man must fear you because obviously, you could best him at least a hundred times in mortal combat.
The closest I came to this was the time at work when I somehow knocked the entire shop vac off it’s cart and spilled water everywhere – just as a coworker entered the previously (blessedly) empty room. As a puddle of water spread towards his feet, he raised his eyebrows at me, who was previously hissing and muttering like a wet vampire.
“Depart!” I shrieked, turning my bloodshot eyes on him, channeling every ounce of terrifying fury into my gaze, the true rage of a goddess who turns men to stone in fear and—
“Sarah,” he said mildly, “I know you are a strong, independent woman, but do you need help?”
…yeah, never mind. I don’t fit this qualification at all.
You are ridiculously smarter than aforesaid Man.
*starting to wonder what his point is at all*
He must be hot.
Ah. There’s the point.
And you definitely DON’T like him.
Which is odd, because if I do my heroine job right, I’ll spend every three paragraphs obsessing over him.
But he must Respect you!!
Even though I don’t respect him? Niiiiice.
You must have a token Ethnic Minority Friend who does nothing but be Ethnic and Inclusive and Politically Correct.
Unfortunately, my ethnic friends are too interesting to fill that role. Oops.
ANGST!! SO MUCH ANGST!!! YOU ARE A TEENAGER!!! YOU HAVE TEENAGE PROBLEMS AND SPEND EVERY SPARE MOMENT IN HYSTERICS ABOUT THE WEIGHT OF THE FUTURE AND THE BURDEN OF ADULTHOOD AND THAT HOT GUY YOU REALLY DON’T LIKE!!!!
At least, so says the author who hasn’t been a teenager in almost twenty years.
And obviously, there’s no adult figure who can help you sort through the angst and figure out where your life is headed.
Because your parents hate you, remember?
Someone will die (kudos if it’s your best friend).
Another man will enter your life.
I mean, I have a brother, so…
And you will be torn between your love for him and your love for the Hot One.
Never mind about my brother.
The new guy will actually do something important, unlike your other suitor whose only purpose is to Respect you and be a testament to your abundant strength.
I can get behind this new guy.
But obviously, in the end your love for the Hot One will prevail.
…but I thought I definitely didn’t like him?
And New Guy will wander off into the sunset to weep away the rest of his years, a victim of tragic love.
Something will probably explode.
Oh yay, fireworks!!
Kudos if it’s a person.
Double kudos if it’s your friends.
And triple kudos if they return from the dead in a shocking twist of events two minutes later.
So then, like… why did they even die in the first place…?
While we’re on the subject, let’s talk about resurrections!!
Yes, let’s! Jesus was crucified for our sins, but on the third day He rose again—
Not that kind.
Halfway through the story, the villain will reveal himself to be your long lost parent.
Like the time someone spilled coffee on my sketchbook and I found out the culprit was my mom?
You will lose a limb
I’ll pretend we’re talking about trees.
Or an eye
…yeah, we’re not talking about trees.
Or your hair
I would gladly surrender my hair in defense of my eyeballs.
Or your mental stability.
Which wasn’t terribly impressive to begin with.
You will lie and betray and possibly kill people, not to mention consecutively cheating on both your love interests, but deep down inside, you are a Good Person.
Oh to live in a world where morality is based solely on a hormonal teenager’s vague feelings of righteousness!
Because you’re on the good guys‘ side.
Wait, how did we figure out they’re the good guys when there’s no fixed morality—
And you fight against Evil.
…lying isn’t evil?
Above all else, you must follow your dreams!
And step on everyone who gets in the way! *side-eyes friend group who became nonexistent after Hot One was introduced*
You are the Chosen One–
Chosen as a child of God?
–because you’re dazzlingly beautiful.
Moral of the story: The day I become a soppy Young Adult protagonist is the day the genre dies.
My one consolation is in knowing most of you probably don’t fit these standards either.
(If y’all know of any YA that’s actually different from this mess, please, tell me. Please. I need a better selection.)
19, you better treat me well.
A brief word on the scavenger hunt from last week: I was going to post the giveaway results today, but a lot of folks were having trouble solving all the puzzles so I decided to extend the deadline to next week to give everyone a chance. I also put together a little walkthrough to help you out, which you can find here.