Teen emotions are raw and over-the-top. Sure, a break-up or a family problem can be heartbreaking, but getting the wrong Christmas present can cause an almost equal state of trauma.
Somewhere around grade ten, I asked for a winter jacket for Christmas. SunIce was in at the time. The coolest winter jackets were decorated with geometric shapes of hot pink and florescent blue. I didn’t specify that I needed a SunIce jacket. I thought all jackets were, obviously, SunIce.
What I got for Christmas was a cross between a giant marshmallow and a roll of Lifesavers. It was white, kind of like the best SunIce designs. But across the white were horizontal ribbons of blue, green, and yellow. It was hideous. To make me feel now what I felt then, having to wear that abomination to school every day, you would have to send me out in public in lingerie and bunny slippers.
As a teen, minor events can be huge. (At church this Sunday morning, someone told the congregation about getting a giant wedgie from his uncle while everyone laughed, and how that experience ruined his relationship with his family.) Things don’t seem huge. They are huge. So huge we remember them decades later.
That’s the best reason for writing young adult books rather than adult books. How can one not be drawn to so much overflowing emotion?