Today I want to introduce you to the author of April, Bethany Crandell!!! Her book, SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS, released April 1.
I must say I loved it and will be posting my review Sunday! Today Bethany has provided us with an awesome little piece on Why she chose YA!!
Why Contemporary YA: The John Hughes Complex
I’ve been asked countless times why I write contemporary books for a teenage audience. The answer is simple: John Hughes made me do it.
Like so many kids who grew up in the 80s, I was introduced to teen-angst through characters like John Bender and Jake Ryan. True, these guys lead startlingly different lives; Bender was a pothead head whose only productive activities included hair-relocating head flips and dodging the lit end of his father’s cigarettes, while Jake was the sensitive jock who was more interested in a flat-chested sophomore than fancy cars or his cheerleader girlfriend’s gigantic knockers. But it was the underlying commonality between them that made us root for them—because we saw it in ourselves. They just wanted to find their place in the world.
Too often the teenage years are downplayed to little more than tubes of Clearasil and bad attitudes, but there’s so much more to it than that. It’s about making sh*tty choices and learning how to bounce back from them. It’s about navigating social structures and building lasting relationships while you do it. It’s about being insecure, selfish, cocky, stupid and vulnerable all in an effort to figure out who you are.
Through honest characterizations, Hughes captured the teenage perspective from every possible angle. The plotlines were never particularly complicated—they didn’t need to be—they just gave us a glimpse into the ordinary lives of ordinary teenagers trying to figure it all out. No matter how ugly, annoying, geeky, stupid, conceited, bitchy or selfless a character might be, someone watching was going to personally connect with them. And as a writer, that’s all I could ever hope to accomplish.
It’s true that my perspective on life has changed since I was a teenager, but I have never forgotten how important those years were in shaping me into the person I am now. That is why I write contemporary YA.
(For those of you who are unfamiliar with the John Hughes collection, please do one of the following:
1) Run to the nearest oven, stick your head inside, and pray for the light.
2) Log in to your Netflix account and watch Sixteen Candles or The Breakfast Club (or any of his other work) as soon as you finish reading this.
About the Author:
Make sure to check back Sunday when I post a review for SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS and a giveaway prize pack Bethany has been so great to provide!! Make sure to leave Bethany some love!!!