Tag Archives: Embassy Row series

The YA Protagonist’s Age: You’re 17? Me, too!

15 May

The young adult genre is normally defined by coming-of-age stories, where the protagonists are often between the ages of 14 and 18. That being said, if you are publishing a YA story right now, chances are your protagonist is 17 years old.

So why are most YA protagonists 17?

Short Answer: The protagonist is old enough to be on the cusp of adulthood but young enough to still be considered a young adult.

Long Answer: Adding to the short answer above, 17 years old is also highly regarded because the target audience reading YA right now is not necessarily teenagers. In fact, most studies indicate that the main audience buying YA is 18-27. (Many teenagers are more focused on fan fiction online—another topic for another day.) But focusing on the older aspects of teenage years is currently more sellable than the younger teenage years of 14-16.

Basically, 17 years old seems to be the sweet spot in YA right now, especially for crossover YA, but I would love to see more variety.

In fact, I find it incredibly uncomfortable how much we are focusing on the age of 17. It’s almost as if every teenager on the planet will have a revelation in that year of their life…and that’s highly unrealistic.

Teenagers do not go through the same issues at the same time. Not everyone falls in love for the first time at 17. Heck, I’m pretty sure half my class was “dating” in middle school, and, yes, that “dating” included some pretty adult things. In fact, let’s talk about that.

Sex is being introduced to YA on a more often, regular basis. (And that’s another debate.) But I think this addition is one of the main factors behind the focus on aging up protagonists. The average reader might feel okay reading about a 17-year-old, who is practically “free” of childhood, but a 14-year-old might cause different reactions. But people face different issues at all ages. Let’s take historical fiction as an example. The average age of a Civil War soldier might have been 26, but boys as young as 12 served as drummers. You’re now talking middle grade fiction, let alone young adult. I think it’s especially okay to give younger protagonists bigger roles in YA historical, but 17-year-olds still take the center stage, and while I understand the marketing aspect, I wish we could get over it.

I went against the grain when I featured a 14-year-old protagonist in my latest YA series, because I think variety is important.

In fact, I’m going to stick my neck out and say one of the reasons young readers (actual teenagers) are reading less YA and focusing on Harry Styles fanfiction on Wattpad is because of how much YA is currently being marketed for older audiences. Ally Carter, author of the Embassy Row series, recently talked on Twitter about how “sweet” young adult fiction is all but missing from the main market. Darker, older, edgier materials are hot, and while that’s awesome for readers like me who enjoy those books, many teens are feeling left out of their own genre…and that’s not okay.

When I was young, I grew up with Cammie in the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter. Her character aged over a few years, and I loved it. The series starts off quick and short and sweet, and as Cammie grows, the content gets darker, more mature, and complicated. In fact, there were a lot of series like that when I was younger, and I LIVED for them. (Hello, Harry Potter.) When I’m at book signings and teenagers tell me how they struggle to “relate” to YA anymore, I feel for them. I truly do.

Teenagers deserve younger and older protagonists—all going through a variety of topics and struggles. They deserve to feel welcome in their own age bracket.

I lost my mom at 11. I moved for my seventh time when I was 12. I had a stepfamily when I was 13. I started high school and my first long relationship at 14. I got in my first car wreck at 15. Heck, I got my license at 15, because, Kansas. (Farmer’s permits—driving by yourself to work and school—were pretty common.) I started my first job at 16. I published my first book at 16! I graduated high school at 17. I turned 18 one month before I moved out and went to college. And sex? I was 19. All of these topics are seen in YA…but they’re mainly assigned to 17-year-olds. Why?

Not everyone has their first “coming-of-age/independent” moment at the same time.

So why are all of our protagonists the same age?

~SAT

#SATurdate: Peaky Blinders, Embassy Row 3, Dido, & Don’t You Cry

4 Jun

What I’m Writing:

Right now, I have three manuscripts complete: Take Me Tomorrow, Take Me Yesterday (though I need to edit it), and the mysterious D. Now, I add the equally mysterious S. I’m still on a bit of a writing hiatus, but S is a manuscript I’d love to chase after the Tomo Trilogy and D. (It never ends, does it?) The reason I think S could be so neat is because it’s the first book I’m determined to save any and all notes while writing it. You see, I’m a thrower outer. I don’t like keeping my notes or old scenes or original files. I feel like keeping old materials holds me back in a jinx sort of a way. This makes it really difficult later on when I’m asked how I built my book from scratch…which means this novel—no matter how long it takes—could be the first one I’m keeping real insight on…or at least, a more than usual amount. (I’m still throwing out a lot. I honestly can’t help myself.) That being said, it’s a YA fantasy, and I’ve written the first two chapters, so it’s only 3,787 words so far. I’ve outlined the next twelve chapters or so as well. I look forward to seeing where this project might take me one day.

What I’m Publishing:

Wattpad RyneI hope you enjoyed this week’s #TeaserTuesday! If you didn’t see it, check out my right side tool bar. You’ll also see the link to Ryne’s Story—the fourth origin story in the FREE Bad Bloods Prequel on Wattpad—but first a sneak peek of his story: I never thought I was shallow until life proved that I was.

The #1lineWed preview was “late” so here’s this week’s preview: It was too late. There, standing right in front of me, was a group of people in riot gear, guns drawn, badges blazing.

Pre-Order Bad Bloods

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

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November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, Goodreads

Visit the Pinterest and Facebook Pages. Preorder Bad Bloods

What I’m Reading:

Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica

Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica

I finished Winter by Marissa Meyer, and of course I rated it 5 stars. The Lunar Chronicles is a wonderful sci-fi/fantasy YA series for those of you who love fairy tale retellings. I really enjoyed Winter as a character, and the ending was priceless. Funny story, though. I was having issues posting a review to Amazon. They rejected me not once, not twice, but THREE times before I lost it and e-mailed them. Turns out it was because of my use of “idiot” which was a direct quote from the book:

“You might be an idiot, but I assure you, you’re quite a lovable one.”

He shook his head. “You’re the only person in the galaxy who would ever call me lovable.”

“I’m the only person in the galaxy crazy enough to believe it.”

Read my five-star review here.

I also began Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica. I actually won this book through Goodreads, and I’m enjoying it so far! It’s very vivid and suspenseful. I’m about 120 pages in.

What I’m Listening To:

Dido! She sings to my soul. She also happens to sing songs that I’m listening to while writing S.

What I’m Watching:

I went back to the theatre this week to see Alice Through the Looking Glass! I thought it was wonderful, but I spent most of my week watching the third season of Peaky Blinders on Netflix. If you love gangsters, Peaky Blinders is for you. This season was a bit more…crazy? (eh-hem, Russians)…than usual, but I enjoyed it, and I’m excited it was already renewed for a season 4 and 5.

netflix-Peaky-Blinders

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

13321957_1054522697928244_5706116307588296462_nI baked s’mores cookies this week! Here is the recipe I used, though I used dark chocolate, mini marshmallows, and an extra egg.

If you want summer s’mores but you also want cookies, this is the perfect recipe! They are super gooey in their marshmallow glory, and I loved how the dark chocolate cut through the sweetness. A great summer treat.

What I’m Wearing:

Sandals…because my cat Kiki decided to ATTACK the back of my foot. After I dropped a cup and scared her by accident, she went into fight mode and went crazy cat with her claws. I can’t wear normal shoes at all. 

What I’m Wanting:

Take The Key and Lock Her Up

Take The Key and Lock Her Up

Take The Key and Lock Her Up by Ally Carter! She revealed the cover this week, and I’m DYING for book 3 of the Embassy Row series. If you haven’t read her Embassy Row series, do it now. It’s fantastic, and Ally Carter’s cliffhangers kill me every time. If you’re curious about this series, read my 5-star reviews of All Fall Down (book 1) and See How They Run (book 2).

What I’m Dreaming Of:

I invited everyone to Kansas for a book event, but then there was an earthquake…which happened to kill everyone at the event? So, Kansas accused me of witch craft, and chased me down until the end of time. (Please don’t take this as an omen for future book signings like I did. I was TERRIFIED when I woke up.)

What Else Is Going On:

After working for a couple of companies and loyal clients, I’ve added an additional option to my services page. I’m now ghostwriting articles and managing blogs, so if you are interested in having some help in the blog-o-sphere, check out my Services page.

~SAT

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