Recently I went through a stage where I could barely get through the opening pages of a fair number of YA novels. Kinda depressing when you’re told that’s what you write. I felt like I was being bashed over the head with novels obsessed with three things: the incredibly dull minutiae of daily life, Really Hot Guys, and like, becoming like, something magical, like, you know.
It hurt me right down at the bottom of my tiny soul. Teenagers are not this stupid, I screamed. Surely? I’ve always preferred to give my readers loads of credit and assume they’re bright and can work out complex, subtle things. As a reader, I hate being talked down to by the writer, and I never wanted to do that when I started writing.
So when I read books that spell everything out as if I were a dull-brained sub-human barely capable of making my own breakfast, I am insulted. If I were a teenager I would be doubly insulted, because that’s the time in your life you’re trying hardest to prove you’re not some naive little kid. That you get it.
I vaguely remember being a teen. I’m sure I obsessed about more than Really Hot Boys. A quick glance at my high school diary confirms that I actually obsessed about Really Pretty Boys In Dresses, so I guess that’s okay, but there were other things. I wrote shitty poetry and I played guitar and I wanted to be in a band and I read lots of Herman Hesse because I was the very opposite of cool, and I rode horses and knew every record label every UK indie band was on (because I was a little…trainspottery about crap like that) and yeah, there was more to me than chasing around boys, basically.
So back to my YA despair. Please, Book Gods, I said as I wept, and tore my hair and rent my sackcloth etc, restore my faith in YA, let it be about MORE. Let something interesting smack me in the face.
And indeed, something did.
You know when you finish a book and go, damn, I wish I’d written that? Yep. pretty much. It’s like the author decided to gather almost all the things that make Cat happy and put them in one book. And I really appreciate her thinking of me like that.
Ta, ever so.