Thursday, November 28, 2013

And 6 Months Later They Broke Up... (Endings in YA lit)

I was lucky enough to attend the SCBWI conference in LA again this year and got a lot of sit down a chat time with some of my favorite YA authors (I may have fan-girled a little) - Jay Asher, Shannon Messenger, Kirsten Hubbard, Debra Driza, Carolyn Mackler...

We ended up on the topic of endings in YA literature, especially stories involving a love story (which about 90% of them do to some extent). What I always find funny is when readers are frustrated that a YA novel ends a little too open. But in my mind, that's the beautiful part about writing for young adults.
The couple we've been rooting for since he tripped over her books in chapter two are FINALLY together, having pushed over one obstacle after another... But for how long?
I can tell you my attention span in high school wasn't long enough to create a "forever" kind of relationship. So the joke was that if every YA romance had an epilogue that was honest, it would read -
And six months later they broke up.

I still laugh at this, and I try to keep it in mind both when writing YA and reading YA. We're getting a glimpse into one small section of this person's life. We're not necessarily setting up their future, or finding their happily every after. (And yes, I'm aware that there are exceptions to this - especially when jumping into speculative fiction)

It's more like - Their happily ever after...for now ;-)

What do you like about YA literature?

~ Jolene 

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