So, I recently read Bookishly Ever After, and the main character really reminded me of myself as a teenager. The only problem is, this just reinforced a longtime belief that I’ve held – I would have made a somewhat frustrating YA main character! (By the way, I should point out that I still really enjoyed Bookishly Ever After – it was cute and fun and perfect for the young YA crowd.)
See, I was the type of girl who could never admit to a crush, even when directly asked by said crush’s best friend. When I was a freshman in high school, two of my really good guy friends took me off into a corner (separately) and asked if I liked the other boy – I fervently denied it, even though I was completely crushing on one of them. By the end of the schoolyear, I was still smitten and I called the boy about once a week just to talk – but I was so insecure that I eventually started to doubt even this small step toward … anything. I noticed that he wasn’t calling me – it was always the other way around. And even though he seemed very happy to talk to me, I started thinking maybe I was just being desperate and bugging him. So, I decided that I wouldn’t call him again – I’d wait for him to call me. I never heard from him again.
Now, my high school was strange in that the freshman and sophomores went to one school and the juniors and seniors went to another, almost twenty minutes away. So the following schoolyear, I didn’t see him again until midway through the first semester when we were both waiting for the late bus after a theater event. We sat next to each other (but not too close) in complete awkward silence.
Finally, he turned to me and said, “Do you remember me?”
I just about choked, and I’m pretty sure my eyes grew to be about three times their normal size! I finally managed to get out, “Of course I remember you! You were one of my best friends all last year!”
To which he replied, “Oh.” And we went back to our awkward silence.
Yep, that was it.
Looking back on this event as an adult, I am almost certain that he liked me as much as I liked him, but he was just as completely insecure as I was. He literally thought he was so insignificant to me that I could completely forget who he was, even though I had talked to him every day the year before. I’m guessing that when I stopped calling him, he had no idea it was because I thought I was bugging him – he probably thought I just no longer wanted to talk to him for some reason and he couldn’t bring himself to pick up the phone and initiate a call himself. We were doomed by our own insecurities!
Now this makes a cute little anecdote, but if you were to read a whole book based on these two teenagers, you would most likely be incredibly frustrated! (Even if I tweaked the ending and let us live happily ever after – we didn’t. Pretty much every interaction we had after that was awkward.) You’d be yelling in your heads for us to get a clue and do something already! You’d be saying, “It’s so obvious he likes you, Nicole. What the heck are you waiting for?!” (Actually, you would have called me Nicci because that’s what people called me back then – see how unique and interesting I was because I used two c’s? LOL! That’s what happens when you choose your nickname in the 5th grade.)
But teenage me was kind of a lost cause.
And I’m okay with that. Even though I had very little experience with boys, my senior year of high school I met the love of my life – though I had kind of just started dating someone else (but that’s a whole other story). Really, the only reason I had enough courage to date either boy was because my best friend forced me to. Thank goodness for best friends who take matters into their own hands!
So, I don’t think I would have made the best YA main character. I think you all would have wanted to smack some sense into me. But that’s okay. I think that being this type of young adult ended up giving me some advantages when it came to adulthood – I was too timid to get myself into many bad situations. And even though there were circumstances where I felt like I was just being a naive wimp at the time, as an adult I can think back on those times and think, “Thank goodness you didn’t get yourself involved in that. It would not have gone well!” (Not talking about the situation with that boy freshman year, but a couple of other situations that I was sad about at the time and that made me feel insecure.)
On the other hand, I probably missed out on some awesome things that I would have been able to do if I hadn’t been so afraid of trying and failing.
Anyway, all this got me thinking. What kind of YA main character would you have been as a teen? (Or are you now?) Were you shy and timid or were you the type who jumped into life with gusto? What YA character makes you think of yourself? I want to know!
This post has been linked up to the January Discussion Challenge link-up!