I am currently listening to a NYT-bestselling YA (movie rights optioned, I just read), and I’m out of my depth. Good writing, some interesting action, but so far, this book is about virginity, roses, and matching tank tops. One girl drives a Range Rover. It may have gotten to be a NYT-bestselling YA because of the reasons above, which is cool, and it does have a cool premise. But it just doesn’t resonate for me.
The narrator is rambling on about popularity right now–we know it when we see it, right, like a lazy eye or porn? (said with upward inflection, of course) She and her besties can get away with stuff, she says, like wearing fuzzy yellow slippers to school.
And I thought: that’s the difference between my characters and these characters (aside from the Range Rover and the matching tank tops). My character would wear fuzzy yellow slippers because they mattered to her. She’d do it because they were her grandmother’s, and she misses her, or because they were comfy, or because she’s depressed as hell and they help her feel better. She’d do it because she would. She’d be COMMITTED to those goddamn slippers, and they wouldn’t be “ha ha, look at me aren’t I cute?” wear. They’d be part of her.
I’ll keep listening, and maybe I’ll identify more as time goes along, but I know the book wasn’t written for me. I believe in quirk, weirdness, the indie spirit, and funk music. Because of those things, I may never be a NYT-bestselling author. Fair enough. I don’t write about popular girls because I wasn’t one, and I can’t identify. I am the fuzzy yellow slipper-wearer, and I’m OK with that.