8 responses

  1. We Heart YA
    October 19, 2011

    Haha, we don’t hate you for citing Bella as a good example — we agree with you! (Even if she’s not our all time fave character or anything.) Anna from Anna and the French Kiss is another great example.

    We wouldn’t say we see too “adult” narration OFTEN, but we DO see it, unfortunately. And it pulls us out of the story, makes us enjoy it less. Because we don’t believe it, you know?

    In cases like that, it sometimes would help for authors to switch to third person, as you suggest. That way they can write the way they need to, without it feeling out of place.

    Some authors make 3rd person really, REALLY shine. (We’re thinking of Laini Taylor. :P)


  2. Kerri
    October 20, 2011

    I’ll have to check out Anna and Laini. Thanks for the tips!


  3. Lourdes
    October 20, 2011

    Anna and the French Kiss is an excellent novel, and I totally agree that Anna does act like the quintessential teen. She is trying to figure out who she is in this new environment while juggling the feelings she has towards her family (The entire dad angle reminded me too much of Nicholas Sparks. A part of me could not take it too seriously as a result.) and this new love interest that one minute seems cold and then the next extremely warm. I think it is one of the more recent YA novels that handles teen romance in a realistic, non-fluffy, humorous way. Plus, Etienne is British!


  4. Jenny
    October 28, 2011

    I would agree that I have read several YA books where the first-person teen narrators had a lot more insight than I think is necessarily believable. Mostly, I’ve employed a willing suspension of disbelief and enjoyed the book anyway, but if it is noticeable, then it does take away from the story a little bit. This debate draws attention to how hard it is to write in a voice that isn’t your own – not just not your point of view or opinions, but not your age/experience either. Bravo to the authors who pull it off (John Green, Philip Pullman, Chris Crutcher, Robert Cormier, Laurie Halse Anderson, Scott Westerfeld).


  5. Jill Ann Bixel
    November 3, 2011

    I know just what you mean about the adult voice coming through when the young adult character’s mouth opens. It loses me right away, and my guess is young adult readers spot it as inauthentic immediately.

    I think this can happen when authors write in order to express a message. It is easy to lose sight of why young adults, or for that matter anyone, reads –though we learn from our reading, we don’t read to learn, we read to have an experience.

    In Big Mouth & Ugly Girl, I think Joyce Carol Oates does an amazing job of creating a main character who is anything but intellectual or snarky. And yet, as a reader, I related to Ursula and was invested in her growth.


  6. Kerri
    November 3, 2011

    Thanks, Jenny and Jill. So interesting about Joyce CO, Jill–I wouldn’t have guessed it about her! Will have to check out the book.


  7. Jill Ann Bixel
    November 3, 2011


    If you like Big Mouth & Ugly Girl, you may also like Oates’ two other YA books –Sexy and also After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread My Wings, and Flew Away –this last one may be my favorite.



  8. Alison
    November 16, 2011

    I think Kody Keplinger (D.U.F.F., Shut Out) has a great teen voice in her books. Of course she was a teen when she started writing them!


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