I love YA. Or more specifically paranormal YA (right off hand I can’t think of any non-paranormal YA in my must-have pile). I’ve read loads of it, watched a bunch on TV. There are certain types I gravitate toward, others I really hate, and some I’ve never seen.
I really dig it when both hero and heroine (of course there are both–we all know I’m a romance junkie) are both teens. Regardless of where the supernatural fits in–for one or both of them–if they’re both teens, then they both tend to have similar maturity levels. That usually works for me (as long as the author did a good job of writing them as actual teens and not as twelve year olds in adult bodies, which was the bulk of YA when I WAS that age).
But that doesn’t always happen in paranormal YA. Because when you get into the paranormal, you end up with creatures that are immortal or really ancient–vampires, angels, whatever the heck that guy was in Evermore, fairies, whatever. What often happens in these cases is that half the pairing is paranormal and half human. If there has BEEN a case where the human half was a teenage guy and the paranormal half some kind of immortal chick, I can’t think of one. More often it’s an immortal guy and a human teenage girl. Okay, fine. That can work for me sometimes, as long as the heroine is not a moron. I’ve definitely read my fill of teenage heroines acting like selfish, spoiled, too-stupid-to-live teenagers, which always make me want to toss the book against a wall, because what on EARTH (or beyond) is this much more mature immortal/paranormal creature seeing in a true teenage girl who acts like the stereotypical teenage girl? I’m sure that’s why nobody makes human teenage boy + ancient/immortal paranormal chick pairings. There are enough maturity issues between REAL teenage girls and boys. Nobody would believe it!
Hubs and I have talked often about the human teenage girl + vampire pairing, usually in context of Twilight. He finds the whole thing creepy and unbelievable. I say it depends on whether the lore of that vamp story says that the vampire stays (maturity wise) exactly the age at which he is turned or if the vamp continues to emotionally mature over time. I felt like Edward still acted like a teenager (a total, creepy-ass stalker teen with serious emo issues, but still a teen). This was the problem I had with Evermore. I found Ever to be incredibly immature and freaking annoying, and I could NOT understand (even with this reincarnation thing they had going on), why the hero (whose name I CANNOT remember) was into her, because he seemed like an adult. I’m starting to feel the same way about Luce in Torment, which I’m currently listening to in audio. Apart from ENDLESS and repetitive rhapsodizing about Daniel’s wings, she’s constantly doing stupid shit that puts her in danger, even though multiple very powerful and responsible people (i.e. angels and demons and others) have told her that she IS in danger and she needs to stay put at the school with the cloaking spell or whatever. That puts her into Too Stupid To Live in my mind. Daniel, for the most part, seems like an adult.
That’s actually probably an issue for me overall. Really immature teens. I was NEVER an immature teen myself (seriously, ask my mother. I’ve been 30 since I was 5), so I cannot relate to characters who are. Heroines in particular. Most of my friends were incredibly mature at that age (it was always the boys who did stupid shit because, hello, that stereotype of immature teenage boy and the fact that they lag behind girls by a few years until adulthood, exists for a reason), and all of the awesome heroes and heroines I gravitate to are likewise. That’s not to say they NEVER act like teenagers…but I think that you can write about mature teens who still deal with very teen issues (identity, doing the right thing vs. what the crowd is doing, peer pressure, first love, friendships, etc.) without sounding like grownups who are just a little shorter or whatever.
That’s definitely what I’m trying to do with Red. Elodie is facing some big-time, serious stuff that’s forced her to grow up way before her time. So her approach to the world is incredibly adult. It’s some of the other issues she faces that bring out the teen. Hopefully real teens will relate to that when it’s released.
So what about you? If you’re a YA fan, what stuff burns your biscuits and is a huge turnoff? What do you love to see?