Everything YA Literature Lied to Me About
I was raised on a steady diet of Mountain Dew and young adult literature. From the ages of 12 to 17, I’m pretty sure I read virtually nothing outside the YA genre besides Beowulf (my required reading) and whatever Seventeen article popped up on Google every time I searched “how fast does hair grow” after a particularly tragic haircut.
So as someone who has read (and still reads) a lot of YA lit, it should come as no surprise that I, in my youth, absorbed a few maxims about the way of the world that turned out to be less than true. For instance, throughout my misguided adolescence, I was convinced…
1. That two equally viable romantic prospects would be vying for my affection at any given time (one with blond hair, one with dark).
2. That my parents would have little to no input on my day-to-day activities or my life in general.
3. That my social incompetence would be considered cute and endearing rather than off-putting and inconvenient.
4. That all my self-worth problems would be solved by a well-read boy with really good hair.
5. That I would overthrow an oppressive dictatorship at the tender age of 16.
6. That I alone would lead society to a better tomorrow.
7. That there are only two kinds of boy: goofy and likable, or tall and brooding.
8. That my first kiss would be with my soul mate rather than some guy I met at a party whose breath smelled like Gatorade and Cheetos.
9. That all the cool kids would be doing drugs and would stop at nothing until I was also doing drugs.
10. That I would have an embarrassing job, and all the popular kids would come in just to make fun of me and the fact that I have to drive my mom’s minivan.
11. That I would smell like a mixture of vanilla and sunshine while my boyfriend would smell like sandalwood and Byronic despair.
12. That someone would warn me not to fall in love with them.
13. That I would at one point find myself driving down a lonely highway with my best friend. We would have no set destination, there would be an obscure 80s song playing on the radio, and no one would argue about who had to pay for gas.
14. That my 16th birthday would be a turning point in my life.
15. That my 18th birthday would be a turning point in my life.
16. That my crush on the hot, emotionally stunted jock would finally come to fruition just in time for me to realize I’m actually in love with my childhood best friend.
17. That someone would drop me off at my house and kiss me goodbye on the front porch. The closest I ever came was the time I dropped off my prom date at his house and we bumped fists.
18. That I would fix someone’s melancholy and give their life new meaning just by being my irreverent, quirky self.
19. That I would reach peak maturity at the age of 16. There are probably plenty of extremely mature 16-year-olds out there, but I was not one of them. At 16, I was still making “that’s what she said” jokes and rearranging all the monogrammed hand towels at Bath & Body Works to spell out “butts.”
20. That I would know someone named Aiden, Noah, or Kat.