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Teen Reads

April 26, 2012

Call me crazy, but I’ve never been a spring fan. Jump me straight to summer any day. However, this winter was hard, and I can’t say I’m sad to see it moving into the distant past. In order to help survive, I spent many of the long nights writing a dark, young-adult novel.

Why do teens gravitate to the dark and mysterious? The answer’s not simple, and a few factors are at play.

First, a teen is no longer a child and yet, not quite an adult (although they’d no doubt disagree with the latter). This defines unsettled identity. Where do they belong? Teen readers can tap into different characters to help them sort their own lives. Second, teens need avenues to process confusion in their own lives. They often feel alone and isolated, when in fact, many of them are being met with similar challenges. When a reader can connect with a character, it can help them feel less alone. Teens also are met with pain that can no longer be fixed by a kiss and a Band-Aid. Their emotions rage and their problems can feel unbearably intense. A book that has even darker content than their own lives makes them feel not so awful. Finally, teens may just like to escape into the dark for the sheer adventure of it. Why not?

Perhaps I wrote the novel for some of the same reasons teens will read it. At any rate, I’m ready to move on and find a new adventure. Thank goodness for spring!

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