Why You Should Never Live With A Character From A Young Adult Novel

I know, I’m late. But I’m doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and posting in November might be a bit sporadic as a result. In the meantime, here’s the next in the Why You Should Never Live With… series (following the Unreliable Narrator, the Chick-Lit Heroine, and the Cop From a Crime Novel). This was a rush job… but fun!

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Why You Should Never Live With A Character From A Young Adult Novel

Ah, young adult fiction. So much potential, such a small world. It’s almost like they’re fully-grown adults, but in a slightly younger suit. Life would be so much more in context if we were to live with the protagonist of one of our favourite young adult novels.

But hang on now just one second. If you’re living with a young adult protagonist, that gives you a very limited role. Are you the dog? Hardly. A sibling? Of course not, because that would make you two-dimensional and pointless. No. If you are living with a young adult hero or heroine, you must be…… Oh my Blog…… I’m so sorry… You’re their PARENT.

Why You Should Never Live With A Character From A Young Adult Novel

You’re in your living room, watching the TV. The front door slams. You hear the thunk of a heavy bag hitting the floor, and a loud sigh.

 You: Hi, darling.

Young Adult Protagonist: Don’t call me that.

You: Sorry. I get careless with the people I love. How was your day?

YAP: It was shit, thank you very much.

You: Please don’t use that language around your sister.

YAP: [rolling eyes] Yeah. My perfect sister. I forgot about her. Actually, I seem to forget about her a lot.

You: I didn’t have much time today I’m afraid, because I was working late, so we’re having ready meals for dinner.

YAP: I already ate.

You: What? Where?

YAP: I went out.

You: Who with? And how did you pay for it?

YAP: Oh My GOD, do you have to question everything I do? I go out to dinner in a proper grown-up restaurant with my friends, using my seemingly endless supply of birthday cash, and I get interrogated. I come home from my strangely professional part-time job, at which I am inordinately talented, to cook a gourmet four-course meal for the entire family, and I get interrogated. I go hunting, kill my dinner, roast it over an open fire, all the while guarding a small village from clear and present danger, and you don’t even thank me. Seems like everyone else can thank me for saving the world, except you.

You: I hardly think that’s fair, dude.

YAP: Don’t call me that either. I just hate it when you try to be down with the kids.

You: Perhaps I should just shut up entirely.

YAP: Look. You’re doing your best. I appreciate that, I really do. It’s just that you don’t understand my life. How difficult it is.

You: I might, if you talked to me about it.

YAP: I don’t have the TIME to talk to you about it in any way that could make you understand. You have no idea what it’s like to have responsibilities. I have to do everything for you, because you’re so fragile, and yet today I had six hours of classes; invented something no adult would ever think of; smashed it in a really intense political debate with a 57-year-old university professor; knocked it out of the park at my part-time job, despite the bullying tactics of two people my own age; fended off a viral attack on an entire social network, a hospital, and a dystopian city; and now I have to write a song and upload it on YouTube. But if there were 48 hours in the day, I still wouldn’t have enough time to wait for you to understand me.

You: [sighing, but with acceptance] I know. I just worry about you because I love you.

YAP: That’s half the problem! All the other young protagonists I know have at least one parent who doesn’t love them. Or else they’re dead. Having a stable family background makes it so much harder to stand out, even when you have an exceptional talent for mathematics and long-range shooting, like me.

You: Well, we do argue a lot, if that makes it any better.

YAP: Not really. It’s all a bit bland. A bit 1980s. It doesn’t reflect the stress I’m under.

You: I guess you think it was never like that in my day.

YAP: Your day? That’s hilarious! I can’t ever imagine you at my age. Unlike, you know, all the other adults on my wavelength. In fact, except for you, I’m strangely so much more comfortable with people the same age as my author, sorry, I meant my various mentor anti-heroes, than I am with kids my own age.

You: You’d be surprised how much you change when you start getting gas bills, and paying your own taxes.

YAP: What the hell are you talking about? Hey, did you wash my jeans?

You: Yes, they’re folded neatly, with all your other fresh laundry, on your bed. I also bought all the toiletries you asked for, fixed up that catastrophic issue with your student loan application, renewed your health insurance, arranged your next dental appointment, and filled the prescription for the pills which keep me calm while you’re yelling at me.

YAP: Whatever. Look, I’ve a ton of stuff to do, so I’ll see you at breakfast. You’re making pancakes, right?

You: Of course. See you in the morning, honey.

Young Adult Protagonist doesn’t answer, but bounds away, up the stairs. Shortly, you hear the strains of their derivative and yet somehow charming acoustic guitar set-piece drifting down from their bedroom. You smile fondly, ignoring the pain in your heart, which is the only remaining evidence that you too were once the centre of your own world.

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So there you have it. I’m sure at least some of you have a YA protagonist in your house. You lucky things. Feel free to add anything that’s currently wrecking your head.

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  67 comments for “Why You Should Never Live With A Character From A Young Adult Novel

  1. November 4, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    I used to have two young adult males in my house. Their appetites were insatiable and they never hung any clothes up in their wardrobes. One played Nirvana CD’s day and night, and the other one was in a heavy metal band that practised in the garage. We were the neighbours from hell. They left home over 10 years ago and the house is rather quiet. I miss them.

    Liked by 3 people

    • November 4, 2016 at 1:55 pm

      I forgot about the appetites, Stevie! But I suppose I was keeping it genderless here, because YA girls either don’t eat, or eat so much it’s an issue. I’m glad you miss your YA heroes. I hope they still come home when they’re hungry (if nothing else)

      Liked by 2 people

      • November 4, 2016 at 2:17 pm

        Oh yes, we have big get-togethers now, as two left and now eight come home. I love it!

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Ben
    November 4, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    perfect that Young Adult Protagonist is in fact “YAP”.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. November 4, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    My YAP is currently working towards his Teen Years. All this to come…

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 4, 2016 at 2:03 pm

      Oh, you lucky thing, Colin! I do hope yours saves the world a few times, rather than just getting world-weary with the responsibility of being the only person in your family who understands the world.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. November 4, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    In a house that seems to be over-run with YAs, this sounds about right 😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 4, 2016 at 2:04 pm

      You should tap into that birthday cash situation, I’m telling you. It’s limitless. And most of them have their own cars, too.

      Like

  5. November 4, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    So very true! Not only true to the protagonists of these novels, but I have a teenaged son, and some of that dialogue sounds very familiar. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 4, 2016 at 2:05 pm

      Um. I am not part of a shadowy military regime who was recording your son in secret. Honest.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. November 4, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    ‘getting gas bills and paying your own taxes’ premise of the sequel? Only there’s a change in genre – it’s now horror 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    • November 4, 2016 at 2:07 pm

      How did you guess? It’s coming out before Christmas, and guaranteed to be a no. 1 bestseller. The tagline reads… “Think you’re ready for reality? You haven’t met… THE TAXMAN“. Coming to all bookshops, cinemas, and megabrand coffee shops near you.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. November 4, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    I don’t think the YA genre had been invented when I was a YAP myself but I don’t think I missed out much now that I have one of my own and three to follow. We were given Bronte to read ‘in those days’ so I’m probably a bit of a nerd if I confess I loved Jane Eyre when I was 14.

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 4, 2016 at 3:42 pm

      It’s always been around I think Liberty, just called by different (and perhaps less snappy) names. The best thing about the young adult genre is that it’s generally written for people who feel like nerds (i.e. everyone) by people who either feel like nerds, or spent a large portion of their youth feeling as such. The truly universal genre!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. November 4, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    I have two of these in my house. They eat anything that doesnt move. So I make sure I’m moving around a lot, usually dancing a duet with the hoover, cos they play a LOT of sport and the house is always full of mud and grass. Also, my two are male, so even after all these years, they struggle terribly with correct use of the toilet, poor darlings. But they have mastered the floordrobe brilliantly. So proud … 😂😂😂

    Liked by 3 people

    • November 4, 2016 at 3:44 pm

      You must be a constant blur in your house to dodge such predators, Ali. Have you tried disguising yourself as a tidy bedroom in order to become invisible?

      Liked by 2 people

  9. November 4, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    Oh dear… I hate to say this but I am finally soooo happy that I never got the chance to have a much smaller, cuter version of a YAP. It’s true – pets are so much more rewarding, cheaper and easier to feed despite being entirely dependent on you. 😛
    I do have nieces and nephews galore, but they’re at that interesting phase now when they’ll come around and do mates rates and the occasional hot dinner for all the DIY jobs I’ve been putting off for 20 years or so… 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • November 4, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      Excellent stuff, Jan. I am a huge fan of child labour when it comes to my own family. Although when I say that aloud at parties, some people look at me strangely. It’s probably because they don’t know any teenagers.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. November 4, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    You’re doing Nano AND blogging?! You really need to cool the jets with this whole ‘over-achiever’ thing!! Best of luck, hope you don’t lose your marbles like I did 😦 Still, got two books out of it, so potato/cucumber.

    Liked by 3 people

    • November 4, 2016 at 5:20 pm

      It’s my 4th time round, Evie, but I’ve never been so ill-placed to do it as this year with what else is going on in November. If I make 25,000 words, it’ll be a miracle. Still, I find it a really great push, and I’m desperate to get this book that’s been rattling around in my head over and done with. (Or at least as over and done with as a dreadful first draft which needs 33 rewrites can be 😉 )

      Liked by 2 people

      • November 4, 2016 at 5:40 pm

        You’re so right, it’s the perfect kick up the arse and it feels great to have something to show for it at the end. I’ve just finished editing last year’s mss (which prob means it needs two more edits!!) May the muse be with you 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  11. November 4, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    That was almost painful, Tara. I need a cocktail and a nap. Yes, I had a YA protagonist in my house for about six years of HELL. Now I know why I have such a hard time dealing with many YA books. All that DRAMA. You captured the cliches in the genre well. Too funny if it wasn’t so REAL! Ha ha. (Forgive all the caps; you made me do it).

    Liked by 2 people

    • November 4, 2016 at 5:52 pm

      Ooh, I love it when I pain people! Thanks, Diana. It’s my most favourite thing, apart from cocktails and a nap, which sounds like heaven. Although, if you’d told my young adult self that one day I would love nothing more than a cocktail and a nap, I would have resolved to hate myself forever on the spot.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. suburbansimply
    November 4, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    And if there is anything worse than the YAP, its the YAhiP (2 in my house) and their eternal search for “authenticity”: Mam, why do you buy such generic brands ? and OMG we are out of Fair Trade coffee again !

    Liked by 2 people

    • November 4, 2016 at 5:59 pm

      YAhiPs! I love it! You must make that into a meme IMMEDIATELY. And then pretend someone else did it, and sit back and enjoy the irony of anonymous street cred with your offspring. GOLD!

      Liked by 2 people

      • suburbansimply
        November 4, 2016 at 6:09 pm

        Brilliant, will do that after I finish repackaging and decanting the Lidl shopping into ethically sourced waxed paper etc.

        Liked by 2 people

  13. November 4, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    I’m just going to lay this out there. If you’re determined to roll through all the genres and leave this much laughter behind you, I’d just like to offer my services as consultant whenever it comes around to epic fantasy. Not sure how much “living” you’d actually get to with an epic hero, but at least I’d have fair warning not to be sipping something hot when the post comes out.

    Liked by 4 people

    • November 4, 2016 at 8:20 pm

      Congratulations Will, you get Comment of the Month! Pandering to your blogger’s shameless need for compliments has won you a virtual salt cellar and the accolade of Honorary Comment Laureate. This award carries no monetary value. Terms and conditions apply. Your blogger will be in touch forthwith about stealing any ideas mentioned. Hope the burn heals quickly.

      Liked by 3 people

  14. November 4, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    And the YAPs drive cars. (The ones in America seem to anyway.) And none of them swear like coalminers which is an authenticity-killer for me. I think if Wintergreen Katnip, or whatever her name is, was a British teenager Donald Sutherland would have slept soundly for a thousand years.

    BritYAD (British Young Adult). A new genre? A mutant hero who is part-shopping trolley part-Vauxhall Corsa who actually owns the off licence conglomerate where his mum works.

    Liked by 2 people

    • November 4, 2016 at 8:23 pm

      I absolutely love your BritYAD, Chris. Not only have we been crying out for a decent British acronym to replace Brexit, but he sounds like a total howl on a night out. Does he come with antagonists? I’ll take 3 in any case.

      Liked by 2 people

      • November 4, 2016 at 8:58 pm

        All antagonists come with Michael Gove facemasks to stop the younger kiddies from reading the books.

        Liked by 1 person

        • November 4, 2016 at 9:14 pm

          Interesting approach. Were they all out of Spitting Image Theresa Thatcher heads?

          Liked by 1 person

          • November 4, 2016 at 11:30 pm

            Sent the last lot out with that Jonathan Franzen thing ‘Puree’ or something.

            Liked by 1 person

            • November 5, 2016 at 12:07 am

              They’re always giving away free stuff in the German discount supermarkets. That’s all going to stop after Brexit you know.

              Liked by 2 people

  15. November 4, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    I have an almost YAP in the house, and I can feel the thunderclouds of attitude forming already – they’re still in the distance, but they’ll be here soon. Good job I sometimes write YA – at least I can draw on the experience for accurate details, as I have only distant memories of what it was like to be a YAP myself…

    And good luck with NaNoWriMo – hope it goes well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 4, 2016 at 8:33 pm

      Almost YAPs are very dangerous, Helen. I’ve heard they should be approached with extreme caution and wearing a full beekeeper’s outfit. I’m told a long garden rake is also handy. Thanks for your good luck… I have a very strong feeling I’ll need it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • November 4, 2016 at 8:40 pm

        Online ordering that beekeepers outfit now, Tara! Thanks for the heads up 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  16. November 4, 2016 at 7:59 pm

    Hey, I’m doing Nano too, or almost,,,, half doing it… I’m aiming for 30,000 but as time goes by am steadily loosing the zeros!
    I’ve one of these beauties in my house and experience with three others. You have described her beautifully, but my role is slightly different. I’m not quite as passive and ‘nice’ as your parent. My signature dish is opening the window of their bedroom and chucking out everything I find on the floor, sadly some not making it off the roof,(we live in a dormer). Other than that they may have found their unwashed discarded plates, cups and glasses in their beds.
    Thankfully, to date, I’ve avoided serious bodily harm or murder on both our parts.
    Best of luck in Nano.

    Liked by 2 people

    • November 4, 2016 at 9:13 pm

      You sound like the best YA parent in the history of literature, Tric. I’m now in danger of ditching my whole Nano idea & writing about you instead….

      Oh my actual God, I’m going to be RICH!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • November 5, 2016 at 9:55 pm

        Fire ahead. They say the horrible/mean character never recognises themselves in a story. I’m sure my daughter will never figure herself out!

        Liked by 2 people

        • November 5, 2016 at 10:49 pm

          All resemblance to real people is purely coincidence anyway, you know that. Especially when a character is completely based on them.

          Like

  17. November 4, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    Sigh. I just watched Inside Out before reading this. Did I, like, ASK to be this amused? Of course!, said no-one, like, EVEEER. Inside massive eye-roll here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 5, 2016 at 12:05 am

      I don’t know how you got it together to read anything after watching Inside Out. I mean, I was blown away by how they like, got me? You can eye-roll all you want, but I know you were totes emosh, Tenderlation.

      Liked by 2 people

  18. November 5, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    I have no idea how accurate this is, Tara, because I had the good sense to sell my YAPs into slavery as soon as they started giving me lip (which was much earlier than advertised). Hopefully that extra discipline will have made them more rounded adults by now. Unfortunately, I didn’t get much for them, so I still have to pay for my own therapy and counselling.

    Liked by 2 people

    • November 5, 2016 at 10:46 pm

      Sounds like the ingredients for a misery memoir right there, Graeme. At least that might be a small financial bonus? I do admire your flexibility and would like to see you capitalise on it.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. November 6, 2016 at 2:43 am

    I think I may be living with a character from a young adult novel. I haven’t found it so difficult to be honest. I mean, as the father, I’m barely in the story anyway. I’m expected to make a token appearance once in a while to say something grumpy and unreasonable, but the rest of the time is my own.

    Liked by 2 people

    • November 6, 2016 at 5:26 pm

      I’m glad you’re self-aware, Bun, because I would hate to be the one to have to tell you that such chronic levels of positivity and sense in a parent have no place in any self-respected YA novel. In fact, you might qualify for an upgrade. Have you considered being a literary fiction antagonist at all?

      Liked by 1 person

      • November 7, 2016 at 5:54 am

        Oh, that’s a good idea, Tara. I’ll have to look into that and then get my application sent off.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. November 22, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    After TWO nights of excellent sleep (yup I’m doing Nano too, was doing it to finish currant wip then write a novella, instead it’s doing wonders for my reading and sleep;))and a morning of playing with the youngest, this is just what I need to keep the good mood going (I’m annoying everyone this way today!) As always, great, great, excellent post and comments:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 22, 2016 at 5:28 pm

      You’re certainly not annoying me, Bernadette. I’ve been starved for a positive vibe lately. Hanging for one, actually. If you’ve got any more, you know where to come, right?!

      Liked by 1 person

      • November 22, 2016 at 10:59 pm

        It comes very sporadically, Tara, and I faded around 4, but I’ll make sure to share it out when it comes again;) Doesn’t really matter anyhoo, your posts always make me smile!

        Liked by 1 person

  21. November 29, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    Sounds like biographical material. By the way, I’ve never fully mastered the (marketing) concept of YA literature. Are the three musketeers YA? Tolstoï? Dostoïewski? (Or do we stop at Enid Blyton?);)

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 30, 2016 at 12:27 am

      Blyton disqualified herself following too much ginger beer, I’m afraid. The three musketeers don’t fit because they didn’t fulfil the centre of the universe clause on an individual basis. I can’t spell the others to comment on them. But I think your marketing plan will work just fine as long as you remember that EWWWW WHATEVER.

      Liked by 1 person

      • November 30, 2016 at 12:59 am

        Ginger beer? That was “osé” on her part. LIKE. you know. LIKE. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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