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!
Hahaha your story is the most perfect example of high school awkwardness. I love it. I’m the opposite though. I’ve always lived by the idea that if you try, you might get rejected and therefore won’t get what you wanted. But if you don’t try, you definitely won’t get what you wanted. So I decided not to fear rejection and made a fool out of myself plenty lol, especially in high school, but I suppose it might’ve been an entertaining thing to read about? Sometimes it did work out for the best, and other times it at least made for an interesting story.
But that’s why I always love the characters in books who are blunt and straight-up when it comes to feelings and stuff like that. It cracks me up, but it also reminds me of myself. The best is the reaction of the other characters/people because they’re never expecting someone else to be that blunt 😛
Ha! You were the kind of girl I WISHED I could be in high school – but there are definite pluses and minuses to both types of personalities, I suppose. (I guess that could be said about just about everything, right?) Glad you got some good stories out of it!
Yeah, I’m pretty sure it went wrong more than it went right, haha, but I regret none of it!
Great topic. I was probably a version of you. I think if directly asked by a crush’s friend (as long as I trusted them both), I would admit to liking someone. However. most of my crushes probably never even knew I liked them, let alone paid much attention to me. Or I just became friends with them instead. haha I was a bit more bold with some things because of friends, but yeah, I’d be a pretty boring YA character. I tended to just read between classes and I didn’t talk much. I think my group of friends on the other hand would be interesting to read about – we had some good times. I was the good girl, but I had all sorts of friends.
Yay for a well-rounded group of friends – so you guys collectively would make a great book!
I’m the type of person who just kind of rolls with the punches. I have a very “…well okay then” kind of attitude. Because of this, I made a lot of different friends my freshmen year of college (I was home schooled for high school so i don’t have a whole lot of anecdotes there xD). This one boy, who was really loud and got under people’s skin and was just a huge gay jewish nerd, plopped down at my table and started talking. I was like, “…okay.” And now we’re best friends. This other guy was like, “You want to go get donuts?” Me, “Okay.” This boy who was one of my best friends, “I have a crush on you.” Me, “Okay.” I feel like I would be a very boring protagonist. I don’t chase after things. I just let it happen. I just say okay when things land in my lap. If the opportunity doesn’t come my way? Well that’s okay. In short- I’d make a kickin best friend side character, but my protagonist potential is lacking.
I was a theater major in college, so my friends were a lot more eclectic by then. I was already seriously dating my boyfriend by then, so I never really worried about being too timid with boys again. I missed out on a lot of the pain of casual dating. LOL!
Hahaha I love this topic, Nicole! I was exactly the same way, only I was in 5th grade that time! The only thing was, he made all the moves and I was like sooo timid and shy, I didn’t even show that I liked him. Plus, I knew my father would kill me, anyway. It was so awkward after that that we never talked to each other until junior year in college when we were classmates in Mandarin! Of course, we didn’t have our HEA because by then years had passed… So, if I were an MC, I would be that awkward, plus size, introverted teen. And yes, you would want to smack the heck out of me! Good thing someone introduced me to my hubs and we started talking on the phone or I’d be hopeless..
Love your story, BTW!
Well, you’re supposed to be timid in 5th grade – I think you get a pass on that one! Thank goodness for friends who introduced us to our spouses!
Great topic. I went to an all girls boarding school. Catholic. No boys. No award anything. Just imagine that. Maybe a topic I can write about…let me find a book too. Love this.
Ha! So with an all girls boarding school you didn’t have to worry so much about all that. Did you hate it at the time? It probably made your life simpler!
Yes, I hated boarding school, church time, all that and no boys. It was horrible. But on the other hand I became a “Brain” and now I am 49 with a Bachlors degree in Tec magmt and no job. Go figure.
I would have been the most boring main character ever. I spent my teenage years reading, writing, and moping around on the Internet. I didn’t even date because I hung around with the gay kids at school and everyone just assumed I was gay. I didn’t bother to correct them. There was one boy in 11th grade who really liked me, but I didn’t like him back because he had no sense of humor and spit when he talked. I was too insecure to tell him that I didn’t like him, so I just let him flirt desperately with me. Basically, teenage-me was a disaster.
Oh, I had trouble dealing with boys who had crushes on me too. Just avoided it at all costs! Glad I wasn’t the only one who was hopeless in high school!
haha I love this post! Its so cute and a really great discussion topic! I have absolutely no idea what kind of YA MC I would be, but that might be because I am still a teenager! It will probably become clear to me once I’ve finished my teen years, and you know, actually become a grown up xD
Yep – someday you’ll look back at this time at this time and it will all make so much more sense to you. Right now you’re too busy surviving it all. LOL!
Love this post and I could not agree more! Sometimes when I read YA, I am annoyed by the maturity level, certain actions (daring) and/or bad decisions of the MC because that is the complete opposite of me as a teenager and, yet, these are the most interesting MCs to read sometimes because they are driving a story and making things happen. It’s a good lesson to remember. My teenage self would be super boring in a book!
Yes, sometimes we kind of want to have our cake and eat it too, right? We want realistic characters, but not SO realistic that the story’s boring. 🙂
This is such a cute post Nicole! Okay, so I would have wanted a happy ending for your two if this was a book, but otherwise I’m just smiling from ear to ear right now.
I’m actually ashamed to say that I would be a relatively unlikable YA character. I was VERY preachy and judgey, not in a slut shaming way or a bully or anything, but just sort of holier-than-thou. I’m not like that at all anymore, I promise LOL. As for relationships, I went after what (who) I wanted, but I wish I had held back a little bit more.
Really, the YA characters we read are, for the most part, pretty mature. I don’t cut them enough slack. 😛
We can all look back at our teen years and realize our mistakes now, right? Hindsight is 20/20. Luckily there’s character growth, but ours takes longer than the length of a book! 🙂
I love that mini Spiderman lol
So cute, right?
Nicole, this is my actual life story (minus that happy ending bwhaha). I was SO. TERRIFIED. to admit that I had a crush on anyone- even to my friends! I think it was the summer before my senior year by the time I finally confessed to liking a boy- and it did NOT work out well. (My friend told him, and he said some jazz about being “flattered but not interested”, which is like a kick to the gut, but in hindsight, we WERE about 98% sure he was gay, so there’s that.) And then when I finally got the courage again to tell my friends, I couldn’t tell the guy. I wanted to ask him to my prom, but then chickened out. (He later told me he would have gone and that I was an idiot for not asking haha.) Then, my friend turned around and hooked up with him and it broke my damn heart.
My YA book would be THE most depressing book in the history of YA books bwhahah. I was so, so naive, and so scared of everything. I think it’s a big reason why I have a lot of regrets. And why I had the desire to be “bad” in college- but “bad” was just like, drinking on weekends bwhahahah. Maybe my NA book would have been less boring, but I really wish we could change the ending of that too- I DO have the perfect one in mind 😉
I’m really sad that you never got your truly happy ending, Shannon. I want to re-write your story for you. And someday I want to hear the perfect ending that you have in mind.
OMG that’s so cute 🙂 Great topic for discussion! I dunno if I would’ve been an interesting YA main character. I was always a bookworm, but I was kinda chill. Maybe if my life was a YA story, it would be a mystery, because I’d definitely try to solve it, haha.
Ha! Funny! I want to read your mystery, Jee Ann. 🙂
Oh I am definitely the ‘shy and timid’ type of YA character LOL. Just the other day I was telling my friend she should ask her crush out (even though I would never do that :P). But I’m also the kind of YA character, who would be (by the end of the book) all confident and self-assured. I feel like as I’ve gotten older, I’m a lot more self-confident, I don’t get as nervous over things that had me freaking out a year or two ago. My life in general is pretty ‘boring’ though, I mean I’m happy but if I had to read 500 pages about ME then I’d be hella bored lol. (Ok there would probably be some cliche high school drama in there somewhere but still boring…) so hence I can’t really think of a YA character that reminds me of myself! 😀
Boring’s not so bad for real life – it means there’s not too much trauma. As long as you can call yourself boring but happy, you’re good! I’m glad you’ve already seen so much personal growth. I’ve often thought about how we want our YA characters to show so much growth in a book, but it takes a lot longer in real life!!
awww that is a cute story! I think it is funny how we readers go about how silly and insecure YA MC are (Bella in Twilight) and we seem to forget how we were! I think I was pretty much like you were! to the insecurities add the fact that I was always at home studying and reading. Total geek! Great post. Loved it 🙂
Yes, we don’t want our YA characters to act like us!!
[…] Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction imagined what type of YA main character she would be. […]
I LOVE THIS TOPIC! Also, I want to hear that story about dating a guy, before meeting the guy you’re with thing, write that post!!
I would have been a bit of a mixed up teen, with a good heart, but some family issues that resulted in some acting out. There also would have been lots of angst, a little bullying and some insecurities. Thrown in with a whole lot of opinions, a growing confidence (which is odd given the insecurities and bullying, but I was pretty outspoken and didn’t like authority all that much). Feisty and independent, sarcastic, and DYING for a boyfriend while creating angsty playlists that would be the soundtrack to my life. It would be a coming of age tale LOL R xx
Ha! I actually once wrote a post about that, but it didn’t end up coming out very well and my husband HATED it – I promptly deleted it. Don’t know that I’ll try it again. 🙂
You make a really good point, though – my home life might have made a more interesting (if not very pretty). And yes – I walked around singing sad songs from musicals. so I was my own soundtrack! LOL!
oooh sounds familiar to me
You know Cress from The Lunar Chronicles? That’s me. Petite techie girl who is shy, adores on boy and uses her skills to save the day. I don’t have her hair though!
Yay for Terri, saving the day!!
It’s like a freaking mirror! I would be pretty much exactly the same YA character as you except add more self-loathing and pessimism haha I’d be one of those books you’d poor down :p
I’d have my own share of self-loathing and pessimism thrown in there. Yeah, I don’t think anybody would want to read my book. 🙂
Talking to a someone from high school he said he thought I was stuck up. LOL. Me stuck up sooo not the case. I was shy towards people I didn’t really know and that came across as stuck up to some people. Funny how other people see you. I never thought of myself as the good looking girl but I never had to tell a crush I liked him. I guess I wouldn’t tell a guy I liked him back then though. As an adult though, I totally just say what’s on my mind.
I guess I would be the know it all that most of the girls talked gossiped about but my inner dialogue would be the shy loner girl.
It’s funny to hear others’ impressions of you and realize how they differed from your impressions of yourself, isn’t it? If only people could read our minds.
No, never mind – that would be a whole other disaster. 🙂
OMG I LOVE THIS POST, NICOLE. IT IS SO AWESOME. XD I love your discussion ideas. Ahem. So I agree…my teen life? Erk. Awful book. I would’ve been that YA book that was waaaay too immature. I wasn’t into romance because I was into drawing maps and writing books and playing cello. I WAS A NERD. And a lot younger than normal teens my age. hehhh. Plus socially awkward and ridiculously quiet. I used to go to youth groups and stuff and no one would even KNOW I WAS THERE. I’d have a friend telling me what happened at an event I actually went to because they didn’t notice me. -_- hmmph.
So if I was a YA book? Readers would be frustrated that I was just a ghost in the background of my own story. XDXD
Oh, I was really immature too. I kind of see a little of that in my own daughter too, even though she’s only eleven right now – she just seems younger than a lot of her peers. In some ways, I worry she’s going to end up feeling awkward like I did, but then I’m also kind of like, “Yay! She’s going to stay out of trouble and I won’t have to worry about all that stuff about boys and teenage cattiness for quite some time!!” 🙂
I love this! If your teenage self were a book, I definitely would have been wanting to push you two together to hold hands, or go out, or do something….so thank you for the reminder to be kinder to our fictional characters. ?
If my teenage self were a fictional character, oh jeez louise. I definitely went after what I wanted. When I was 19 in college I left a note on a guys truck, that I saw through a park and ride to school a few times a week. I wrote that I thought he was hot and if he could guess correctly who I was then he could take me out on a date and left my # on the note on his windshield. He called, got it correct, and we setup a date and ended up dating for a few years. Looking back, what the heck Jen!?!? Oh my gosh, I still can’t believe some of the things I did!!
I LOVE that story, Jen – the best!! I’m glad you went out and got what you wanted. I’m sure you had lots of good stories to tell from your past. You would have been the kind of girl that I would have been friends with – I always stuck with someone a lot bolder than me who could prod me along. LOL!
The list is ridiculously long and it makes me fear how much determination and bravery my boys will have when they are older lol! Oh yes, I would have prodded you along! My best friend is actually the shy and quiet one and we do wonders for evening each other out. ?
[…] Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction asks what type of book you’d have if YOU starred in a YA novel? (Mine would be: very boring contemporary.) […]
If my life was a book I think it would be depressing. *laughs* My parents divorced when I was 12. And then when I was 14 Dad got re-married to a woman with 2 kids (boy and girl). I was friends with the girl from school and her mom seemed nice so I was okay with it. And then it became Cinderella, except without the housework and cute talking animals. She hated me for reasons I still don’t know, and got her kids to bully me as well. I’d come home from school to all my books and stuff all over my room like a tornado hit it. And I’d sneak into the kitchen at like, 2am to get food because it was not worth it to me to go to meals.
So I was pretty quiet at school. Which is actually funny since my main crowd of friends was the Drama group. (I did theatre from pre-k to my first year of college!) My main group of friends and I would get up to lots of fun and crazy things on the weekends in high school. And some nights I’d be run by the house at midnight or so, to pick up some clothes and then crash at my best friends house. I always left a note. “Hey Dad! Left early, hanging out with friend’s name!” Which were TECHNICALLY true as they’d be left after midnight? *lol*
Ended up getting kicked out of the house on my 18th birthday because of my step-mom. Moved into my best friends house, and then after graduation moved across the U. S. to live with mom for college.
But my now ex-step mom and I are great friends NOW, so it worked out okay in the end? Just with no prince charming or pretty much boys in general.
Wow – that’s so sad. I’m glad that you and your ex-stepmom somehow managed to find common ground somewhere along the way. My dad and I didn’t have a great relationship when I was a kid or teen, but he’s now the quirky grandpa that my kids love – funny how these things can change, right?
[…] Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction asks what type of YA character would you be? […]