Have you seen the show When I Was Seventeen, where celebrities recall embarrassing moments from their teenage years? What about the popular twitter hashtag #what I would tell my 16 year old self? So, tell me, why do we love to recall our teenage selves? I mean, I think most of us would happily forgo a return to that time in our lives. Nobody actually wants to relive those years again, do they? And yet…everyone I know loves telling stories about being a teenager, even trying to out embarrass each other (I’ll leave a frightful tale at the end here). Most of us recall those times pretty vividly and with an odd mixture of dread, anxiety, fear, but always with a good dose of humor, too. Is it because that’s exactly what being a teenager was like? Terrible, weird, and scary, but also exhilarating, crazy, spectacular…and incredibly memorable.
Maybe that’s why adults love to read YA books—because we get that same experience—we get to ride that same roller coaster but this time knowing we’re going to be okay at the end of it all, because hey, we’ve been on this ride before. I’m betting lots of us read YA because we get a kick out of reliving those experience, just like we get a kick out of telling each other about all the stupid stuff we did back then. As a YA reader, that’s definitely true for me. Let’s face it, being a responsible adult can get boring at times and reading YA makes it a lot less boring. But, I also have to include that as a YA writer, I’m glad there’s a way for me to communicate with teenagers. To let them ride the ride, but perhaps with a cautionary whisper from the seat behind them of the dips, curves, and drops ahead.
And let us not forget the incredible talent of YA authors and the quality of the literature they’re producing as another major reason for the popularity of YA lit. I’ll admit, I’m partial to contemporary, but there are some amazing reads in all categories of this genre. I’d make a list, but it’ll go on forever. For some of my favorites, click on my YA Picks and feel free to leave your picks in the comments section below. Seriously, I can’t get through my reading list because so many great books are being published everyday!
So here’s my promised embarrassing teen story
Okay, *takes deep breath*
Before I became the charming Stay-The-Hell-Away-From-Me-I’m-A-Poet high schooler who wore The Cure t-shirts and combat boots, I…I…spent some time on the MC Hammer bandwagon and wore those balloon pants that became all the rage. To make things worse, the first day I proudly sported them, I wore them to school backwards…and got called out on it. Sadly, my friends, unintentionally wearing my clothes backwards and inside out was (okay, is) a common occurrence. I know, getting dressed is not a hard task, but…what can I say.
Anyway, that’s one (of many, many, many) cringe-worthy moments. Your turn. Whether it be recalling your first kiss, your first boyfriend or girlfriend, major trouble you got in, or your prom date (mine wore a black vinyl suit and spiked collar—I’m not kidding. My mom was thrilled…), SHARE, SHARE, SHARE your embarrassing teen moments (and/or favorite teen reads, too)!
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