Yes, YA is fiction. So obviously that means it cannot all be true. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t read books about high school before I got there, and used them to base my expectations of high school off of. We all know YA makes things a lot more convenient for the characters
until it needs to make it hard. Some of these conveniences just don’t happen in real life. Some of which I am glad don’t exist, and some of which I still feel cheated of. But here is a list of ways that YA has lied to me.
(PS I saw this post on Analee’s blog, and while I can’t find the original post, thanks for inspiring me!)
1. Teenagers have no homework
I know in high school, my life is basically wake up early, go to school, come home, do homework, eat dinner, do more homework, go to sleep. Then repeat. But somehow in YA these teenagers just go hang out after school. Like they go on mini spontaneous road trips or watch a movie or go shopping. Um, shouldn’t you be doing homework?????? How can you afford to have a life after school???? I know I was extremely let down when I in fact did NOT have time to just hang out after school, but instead had to hunker down and read my textbooks. A rude awakening.
2. The stereotypical “popular kids”
This is one trope I am EXCITED did not appear in real life. Maybe it’s just my high school, but we don’t really have annoying popular kids that are on the cheerleading team and football team* and only talk to each other and are super mean and bullies. Sure, there are the more popular people, but maybe because our school is so large, they aren’t such a large presence. It’s not like they are tripping people in the cafeteria or inviting everyone but one person to their parties. Which I am not complaining about.
*Probably because our football team sucks TBH but still
3. Teachers are secretly matchmakers in disguise
THIS ONE IS FALSE. How many times have you read a book where the teachers pair two students together for an entire year just so they can fall in love????? News flash: this does not happen in real life. They don’t secretly pair students up so they can date
which makes it a lot more difficult.
4. These teenagers have money???
I don’t know about y’all when you were teens, but my friends and I are currently BROKE. Even though we work and have jobs. You read these books where they go to the same diner every week or go out to the movies every Sunday. How do they have money for that????? That’s like $20 a week- I can’t just spend that all. But all teens in books make social plans without even considering the money, which is SO NOT TRUE.
5. Every town/city/suburb has a hidden piece of beautiful nature that only the main character knows about
You know, when they want to impress their love interest so they bring them to some beautiful rock overlooking a waterfall that flows into this lake with a sunset and is conveniently always empty and they’re all like “I’ve never brought anyone here before”. This goes one of two ways in real life: 1.) There is no hidden lake because you live in a suburb not a nature reserve or 2.) if there is it’s always really crowded because it is the only piece of pretty nature in a 20 mile radius. If there is a secluded piece of nature near me, someone let me know because I think that is fake.
6. Characters can eat whatever they want with no consequences
Sure main character, eat a cake and a milkshake and a giant stack of pancakes AND stay your slim 105 lb self. I wish I had fictional characters’ metabolism. If I ate all that, I’d be a balloon.
7. The right person always has the right thing to say
Whether the right person is a best friend or a romantic partner or a parent, at some point they say the exact right thing that completely sets the main character’s world at peace. If that exists in real life, I want to find that person. Sure, many people say many right things to me when I am sad or angry or frustrated or feeling insecure. But also in life there are times when you just don’t know what to say. Not everything said can be perfect.
8. You will find your match in high school
For some people this does happen. and I am not bashing that or anything! But is is extremely rare, and YA makes it seem like everyone is falling in love left and right. I know maybe three couples in my school that I could see staying together for a long time. The rest are all fun and games. Some new YA does show two people dating and loving each other but to being in love and breaking up, which is great. But so much YA just shows falling in love and presents it as if that’s forever right way and if you didn’t find your forever in high school you did it wrong.
I’m sure there’s more I am forgetting and 8 is a weird number of items in a list, but that is all I can remember right now! Thanks YA for giving me unrealistic expectations of high school and setting me up for disappointment.*
*semi kidding I REALLY LOVE YA DON’T WORRY
How has YA given you unrealistic expectations? Was there anything on this list that was true to your high school experience?