Why The Heroes of Historical Fiction And Young Adult Novels Should Never Live Together

(Continuing on with the new take on the “Why You Should Never Live With…” series)

We know by now why we shouldn’t live with an Unreliable Narrator, Chick-Lit HeroineCop From A Crime NovelCharacter From A Young Adult NovelLiterary Fiction HeroRomantic HeroHistorical Fiction HeroHusband From A Women’s Fiction Novel or Woman From A Historical Period TV Drama. 

But what if some of them ended up living together? What happens to fictional stereotypes, dear readers, when genres collide?

Why The Heroes of Historical Fiction And Young Adult Novels Should Never Live Together

Recently, we looked at why a Crime Novel Cop should never live with a Chick-Lit Heroine. But it’s time to move on. To something both young and very, very old.

Why should a Historical Fiction Hero never live with the protagonist of a YA novel?


Dusk: that time of day when young adult protagonists come alive, and historical fiction heroes contemplate the death of society as they know it.

Outside a typical two-up two-down suburban semi-detached starter home, there is a rustling in the shrubbery. It startles Young Adult Protagonist, who has exited the front door dressed in an outfit which is both non-descript in terms of cut and colour, and overly-descript in terms of fabrics which are somehow popular in each of the last four decades.

Suddenly the lush well-fertilised foliage parts, and Historical Fiction Hero bursts triumphantly from a bush, a plump rat wriggling madly in his fist. His long hair is unkempt. His billowing shirt is ripped in three places. He looks fantastic.

Young Adult Protagonist: What the shitting hell!

Historical Fiction Hero: I beg your pardon! Such language – and with ladies present!

YAP: [looking around] No there isn’t.

HFH: There are ladies but three yards from you on both sides of this dwelling, their sensitive ears no doubt ringing with the vulgarity of such speech.

YAP: They’re like, you know, neighbours. Not ladies.

HFH: Then you are no gentleman, Sir.

YAP: Oh my GOD, will you ever get off my case? And what’s that in your hand?

HFH: It is the scourge of society. The plague of cities. And my dinner.

YAP: [making no effort whatsoever to disguise derision] Uggghhh. You are so disgusting.

HFH: Doubtless I shan’t eat the creature. It is only that I once was forced to forage for such vermin during some war – or other time of similar unimaginable hardship – there have been so many, I can scarcely remember. Thus I find myself periodically in the need of procuring the odd rat, for roasting over an open fire.

YAP: Right.

HFH: Where is it that you tarry at this late hour?

YAP: It’s not late. I only got up twenty minutes ago.

HFH: Your slovenly behaviour makes me weep for tomorrow, despite my unyielding fascination with yesteryear.

YAP: Well, to be fair, I didn’t go to bed until 9am.

HFH: I regret to say that I do not understand a world which could permit a 15-year-old to stay out all night.

YAP: Seriously, give me a break. I’m so sick of your, like, Victorian attitude.

HFH: I feel duty-bound to clumsily divulge that I do not know this Queen Victoria of whom you speak, because I was born in 1752.

YAP: Who cares? Look, I was out all night because I was saving the world.

HFH: That makes it the third time you have saved the world this year, if I am not mistaken?

YAP: Fourth, actually. You’re forgetting the incident with the busload of teenage cardiac patients on their way to a symposium for gifted physicists of the future.

HFH: Physicist? You mean physician?

YAP: Never mind. I can’t even explain the toaster to you, so I’m hardly going to start into quantum mechanics. Which I am literally brilliant at, by the way, along with lacrosse, oddly retro video games which only my author – sorry, my parents – remember, and playing the cello.

HFH: Nevertheless, you are but fifteen. I expect you to return tonight before nightfall. God’s stockings! In my time, you would not even be permitted to speak in company until you were one-and-twenty!

YAP: Yeah, well in your time, you were all dead of malnutrition or metal poisoning by the age of fifty. It’s hardly a great example.

HFH: At least we knew our place in society.

YAP: Society’s boring. And anyway, there wouldn’t even be a society, if it wasn’t for me staving off a total dystopian nightmare all the time.

HFH: You can save the world, but you cannot pick up your underclothes from the floor of your bedchamber?

YAP: Good job you insisted on us getting a servant, then, wasn’t it?

HFH: She is not a servant. She is your mother.

YAP: Whatever.

HFH: Which puts me in mind that she has once again increased your exorbitant weekly allowance. You seem to require a lot of money for one so young, without ever acknowledging from whence it comes. It is fortunate that in the periods when I am not starving aristocratically, I am the beneficiary of a most excellent income, without ever having to explain from whence it comes.

YAP: Yeah, well, easy come, easy go, that’s what I say.

HFH: To be young again! Even though I am but thirty-one myself. Nevertheless, one should respect one’s mother.

YAP: I’d respect her a lot more if she hated me. Sometimes I think she’s a bit fixated on me, you know? Like, she needs to get a life and stuff? [frowning]  Although sometimes too I think, when you walk around with your shirt open half way down your chest, she might be a bit fixated on you as well?

HFH: Again, I feel it is incumbent upon me to tell you that I do not understand your strange manner of speech.

YAP: I’m calling BS. You totally wigged out to Kendrick Lamar yesterday.

HFH: [sighing] I beg your pardon, but have something perpetually fundamental which I must serendipitously invent before supper, so that I may retire gently in the knowledge that I have made a lasting impression upon humanity.

YAP: [rolling eyes] Whatever. I have to go and save the world. AGAIN. I suppose I’ll see you tomorrow.

HFH: Totes.

YAP exits via the garden gate. With the wisdom and hindsight of two centuries, Historical Fiction Hero shakes his head and chuckles, musing that young adult protagonists haven’t changed all that much since Romeo and Juliet were know-it-all pains-in-the-arses in the 1500s.


Why The Heroes of Historical Fiction And Young Adult Novels Should Never Live Together

  23 comments for “Why The Heroes of Historical Fiction And Young Adult Novels Should Never Live Together

  1. April 29, 2018 at 10:31 am

    I am the beneficiary of a most excellent income, without ever having to explain from whence it comes. – Just Brilliant!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 29, 2018 at 1:43 pm

      Not to mention enviable, Pam. It was so much easier to making a living in the past. Apart from the chapped washerwoman hands, the starvation, and the constant ravishings, obviously.


  2. April 29, 2018 at 10:39 am

    On behalf of all mothers /servants everywhere I salute this astute piece of writing !!

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 29, 2018 at 1:44 pm

      I’m surprised your children allowed you the time to type that, Orla. Very lax on their part.


  3. Rebecca
    April 29, 2018 at 11:04 am

    I don’t think I’ll ever get fed up of reading this series

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 29, 2018 at 1:44 pm

      Oh good, Rebecca, because I do tend to go on a bit 😉


  4. April 29, 2018 at 11:08 am

    Reminds me of the time my brother asked my Mam ” where did you work before you came to work for us”? 😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 29, 2018 at 1:45 pm

      He sounds like a most wise and excellent person, Trish. Tell me, has he ever thought of running for office?


  5. April 29, 2018 at 11:42 am

    An entertaining pair who I’d like to hang out with.
    But also slap.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. April 30, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    It’s amazing either of these two can function in the real world. And it’s weird – having parented teenagers – how oddly family this sounds. It makes me think I might be… a Hero of Historical Fiction. Egads!


  7. May 1, 2018 at 8:39 am

    Of course, the only reason YAPs have time to save the world is thanks to the dirty underwear removing, perpetually broke, mothers (I mean servants). I raise my tankard and say Hurrah! for us downtrodden lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 1, 2018 at 10:54 pm

      Dystopian universes don’t have washing machines, Liberty. I know this because I read it online. They probably don’t have underwear, either, but that’s just details, you know? Hurrah!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. May 6, 2018 at 10:12 am

    Brilliant post. Totes.

    Liked by 1 person

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